Since last fall’s electoral drubbing, bewildered Republicans have increasingly looked to the states, where the party’s crop of governors are providing leadership and policy direction. One such state is Indiana, where Governor Mitch Daniels has spent the past few years fighting the state’s exorbitant property taxes.
Last March, the state legislature passed Daniels’s tax-relief plan which restructured the state’s property tax code to add a penny to the sales tax and drop Indiana’s property taxes to the 9th lowest in the nation.
One year and a legislative session later, the governor is urging Indiana’s lawmakers to make the tax-relief permanent by amending the state’s constitution to include a property tax cap of 1 percent of a home’s assessed value.
Interestingly, Indiana’s Democrats, who apparently did not get the memo from President Obama regarding change, are fighting such an amendment which they want to put off (at least) until next year. This delay is awkwardly timed considering Indiana’s home values and sales have sharply declined, and construction has slowed to a crawl. Now would seem to be the time for permanent tax relief.
To that end, Hoosier’s will be gathering at their statehouse tomorrow morning to stage a tea party of sorts, with a special appearance by their governor. Daniels, along with those gathered at the rally, will urge the state legislature to permanently reduce the burden on Indiana’s property owners.
A property tax battle in the Midwest might not exactly be a headline grabber, but if the states are indeed going to be the testing and refining ground for new and fresh applications of tired and true principles, and if we are indeed going to look to Republican governors for inspiration, this is a battle worth watching.