At a time when elected officials and homeowners alike are shouting for property tax relief, one eminently knowledgeable expert on Indiana property taxes wonders if it's time to wait while all the other tax-relief steps play out.
Larry DeBoer, one of the state's few "honest brokers" in looking at property taxes -- he has no hidden political agenda -- asks in his most recent column,
Is it possible that we've already solved our Indiana property tax problem, but we just don't know it yet?
He quickly adds,
I'm not sure that I believe it either.
But then he notes seven specific steps now underway to relieve property taxes.
1. The $300 million 2007 rebates and $250 million in relief appropriated for 2008.
2. The option pending before counties to move some current and future property tax revenues to income taxes.
3. The circuit breaker ceiling that takes effect in 2008.
4. Tougher standards for assessors that begin next year.
5. The reassessments ordered by the Department of Local Government Financing.
7. New county-level tax review boards that begin in 2009.
... maybe it's time to let it alone for a while. Many county officials would welcome a chance to catch up with all the policy changes. Once we've caught up, we may find that we're further along toward a solution to the property tax problem than we think.