News From Terre Haute, Indiana


April 13, 2014

Readers’ Forum: April 14, 2014

Alternatives to ‘injustice’

What an epiphany.

I speak of Howard Pennell’s letter to the editor on a recent Thursday in which he declared that his property taxes are too high. I whole-heartedly agree with him. Property taxes are unfair for individuals. Then Howard’s letter went on to place full blame for this on the assessor of Vigo County, a Democrat. Hmmm. Do I detect foul stench? Gee, just when I thought that Terre Haute had eliminated all of these.

Well, now who is really at fault here? You see, the tea party Republicans pushed through property tax reform. This reform changed the assessment methods to something called “fair market value.” Of course, the housing market was still inflated at the time, so the “fair market values” were excellent.

In fact, they were so excellent that the tea party made the Republicans amend the Indiana Constitution to place a cap on property taxes. Otherwise, the inflated market values were likely to make property taxes high enough to force people to sell their homes, or alternatively, abandon them like they did in Detroit and in other places. But they didn’t tell you this, did they?

Nope. They also didn’t tell you that they were preparing to eliminate business taxes and that was the reason why they did this property tax chicanery to individuals in Indiana in the first place. Notice that Gov. Pence tried to eliminate business taxes altogether but his Republican “super-majority” balked. Ever wonder why?

Want to have some fun? Go get an FHA appraisal on your home and see if it is not 25 percent to 45 percent lower than the property tax assessed value. Then, take it to a crackerbarrel session and ask your Republican “super majority” member what (if anything) they are going to do about it. Then, be sure to sneak out the back door and run to avoid being accosted and/or stoned by Zombie tea party members and Fox News, Rush Limbaugh and Glen Beck fans who are dead from the neck up and who are out seeking brain transplant donors.

In the meantime, let’s try to give Mr. Pennell some alternatives to this injustice. One could form a corporation naming himself as CEO and his wife as president of the board of directors. Then, he could sell his home to the corporation and invest the proceeds to pay the corporation rent from the interest. (This is a federal tax deduction for individuals.)

Since businesses will soon pay little or no Indiana property taxes, the property tax problem will then be fixed. After this, one could file for a tax abatement, thus depreciating his own property along with the others abandoning the neighborhood.

This could actually force individuals who are still managing to pay increasing property taxes because of the shrinking tax base to pay your share. This way, you can be at the public trough just like the big corporations and their political lackeys in America are.

— John Garner, Terre Haute

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