Property taxes were the hot topic on the minds of the individuals in attendance at a Crackerbarrel Saturday, which took place at the Jackson Township Volunteer Firehouse, and the four legislators came prepared with several answers to many questions.
"The problem is not in rural counties," State Representative Vern Tincher said during his introduction, "it's in the big counties. There are going to be winners and there are going to be losers."
Several residents in attendance shared their opinions regarding Gov. Mitch Daniels' proposal to increase sales taxes, including the elimination of property taxes altogether.
"Property taxes have to go," Clay County resident Ron Moon said. "The heart of a democracy is our vote. People are getting tired of it."
Steve Bussing echoed Moon's opinion, specifically pointing out that, as a farmer, the 3 percent increase for businesses (which farms are counted as in Daniels' proposal, House Bill 1001) was not right.
"We're really getting shammed," Bussing told the legislators. "We've got to have some help here. We take it time and time again."
Tincher added Daniels has proposed moving farms into the 2 percent bracket, which includes those with rental property.
State Senators Richard Bray and John Waterman, along with State Representatives Tincher and Clyde Kersey all explained their opinions on the current proposal they are looking at.
"I think I know the good, the bad and the ugly on it," Kersey said. "It's not a tax cut. It's a tax shift.
"I don't know how long this will last. There's an election coming up. There are a lot of real problems with this bill. There's going to have to be some major changes to this bill and I'm not going to vote on something that is not a good bill."
Tincher said the statewide problem would not affect each county in the same way.
"One size doesn't fit all," Tincher said. "Who's going to get most of the relief? Lake County, Marion County, those big counties. We're going to be the losers. We're not all in the same boat."
All the legislators stressed the importance of getting work done during this short session, specifically regarding the property tax issue.
"There will be all kinds of amendments," Tincher said. "We're going to hear those amendments and go from there."
State Representative Amos Thomas was scheduled to appear Saturday but was unable to do so.
Approximately 40 residents were at Saturday's Crackerbarrel.