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Time to fix property tax system

Monday, January 21, 2008

To the Editor:

Because of the inequities that were so glaringly revealed this past year in the assessing system, it seems that the legislature is finally ready to tackle some sort of "fix" to the antiquated system called Property Tax.

They are talking percentages more here to reduce a burden there.

Does this sound like robbing Peter to pay Paul?

I realize that the services that we enjoy, i.e., roads, libraries, ambulance service, etc., will continue to require a certain amount of dollars.

However, I can only hope that our legislators will use this opportunity to make some real changes in the lives of the taxpaying public.

One thing that I would like to suggest is the elimination of property tax on homes completely.

The reasons for this, I believe, are inarguable.

First -- it allows absolute ownership. Currently, if you cannot pay the property tax on your home, eventually you'll find that the state will end up as owner.

Second -- the local assessors could be eliminated completely, and the County Assessor's office could be mostly eliminated, because this non-income producing property would no longer need to be appraised, recorded, revalued, etc., etc., etc., etc.

Third -- since the various exemptions, sales disclosures, etc., would not require reporting a large portion of the County Auditors office would no longer be required.

Fourth -- it seems that the logical replacement for property tax would be some increase in income and sales taxes. This would eliminate the discretionary home appraisals, exemptions and be replaced by a set percentage -- period. Since virtually all these taxes are collected electronically, this should eliminate the need for many personnel in the County Treasurer's office.

Fifth -- with no tax on homes -- there should be more interest in owning your own home. This would probably mean more jobs in the building industry, more freedom to improve your home without fear of higher taxes.

To finally own my own home, after paying for it three times -- building cost -- interest -- taxes, without the threat of having the state take it away when the economy takes a down turn, seems very much worth fighting for. If you think so too, write or call your state senator or representative before they can make another mistake.

Terry Ellingwood,

Wallace, Ind.