Friday, September 7, 2007

why doesn't Bauer want to help those in greatest need?

From Thursday's C-J, House Speaker Patrick Bauer (D-South Bend) has enough clout to prevent his tax rebate idea from being turned into a tax credit. Governor Daniels wanted the legislature to make the change as a different way to alleviate the pain from the current property tax fiasco in Indiana. But without the votes, Daniels has given up.

The governor...said yesterday that House Speaker Pat Bauer opposes that plan and "won't budge."

"The speaker authored the rebate, likes the rebate, insists on keeping the rebate," Daniels said. "So a rebate it is."

Senate Tax Chairman Luke Kenley, R-Noblesville, said the governor "is just being realistic."

Why does Bauer like it so much? Why does Daniels prefer the credit?

Clearly, a credit is quicker and more efficient. Why use resources to send out checks rather than simply reducing the bills? But politically, it looks better for politicians to be responsible for sending us some (of our) money. And politically for Bauer, it looks better to stick with his initial plan rather than moving on to something new and implicitly trashing his earlier effort.

I love this part of the story:

Some legislative leaders balked at the idea of a special session and changing the rebate plan, in part because the law creating it requires counties to include a note with the checks that credits the General Assembly for the relief.

Hilarious! Another consideration: Bauer's rebate will go to all homeowners-- one version of what a fair/equitable rebate would look like (vs. helping those in greater "need"-- ironically, a usual Democratic emphasis) and again, smart since a broader rebate will help purchase more votes (with our own money).

During a legislative commission meeting in July, the administration proposed using the $300 million to create what the governor called a circuit breaker that would cap homeowners' tax bills at a percentage of assessed value. The rate would vary from county to county because the amount of taxation varies.

Ryan Kitchell, director of the governor's Office of Management and Budget, said then that about half of Hoosier homeowners would get tax relief under Daniels' plan, while the other half would not see any savings.

But many legislators also didn't want to create tax-relief winners and losers. They favored doling out the money to all homeowners.

The more one sees of the way the property tax in Indiana is administered, it makes you just want to take it behind the proverbial barn.


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