Friday, November 23, 2007

Sodrel (and Hill) on property taxes

Mike Sodrel with an op-ed in the (Jeff/NA) News-Tribune...

So you think you own your home? Think again. You are just renting your home from the government....

Standard (and correct) rhetoric from those who would like to repeal the property tax. The issue is more complicated than that, but it's difficult to argue with this angle!

As an Indiana home owner and fellow Hoosier, I’d like to comment on this issue...

It was good for Mike to identify himself as such for the purposes of this essay. Otherwise, given his background, people might confuse his letter as a concerned citizen for a call to engage the federal government in dealing with this issue. At this point, we don't need any more encouragement for people to think that local and state problems should receive federal "solutions".

Some (political opponents) might complain that Mike is pandering here. But I don't see it.

First, in the context of his congressional campaign, this is an easy way to get "earned media" (as opposed to "paid media"). As a political candidate-- especially one with so few financial resources-- I can speak to the usefulness of such ops.

Second, as a "concerned citizen", why shouldn't Sodrel exert his influence to move the debate in a direction he thinks is appropriate? Again, as a public policy analyst who has written extensively within a variety of media, why wouldn't one take this op?

The current tax on property needs to be repealed, not reformed. It is an expensive system to administer and to maintain. It is not fair to the taxpayer — it needs to be eliminated....

Of course, I have written on property taxes at length-- from my Wall Street Journal article in July to plans for a full issue on the topic of the Indiana Policy Review. One can make a variety of philosophical, practical, and ethical arguments against it-- as I did and as Sodrel does here. And one can easily make a political case for eliminating the property tax--given the way it has been botched in Indiana. But there are a variety of economic arguments in favor of keeping property taxes (given the size of government)-- most notably, that it retains local control. So, it's not at all clear-cut that repealing property taxes is the best way to go.

The other thing to note here is that Sodrel opposes the property tax, but says nothing about how he would fix the resulting problems-- either through reduced spending (see: when pigs fly!) or greater tax revenues of other sorts (good luck with that!). One could critique Sodrel on this-- at least in failing to make a passing reference to the dilemma-- but one can't be too harsh given the length of a standard op-ed piece.

At the end of the article, an amusing (and potentially Freudian) slip by the editor in identifying Mike. Can you find the error? ;-)

Mike Sodrel is a former member of Congress as representative of Indiana’s District 9. He is currently campaining for election to that seat.

Moving on to analysis by other IN bloggers...

Taking Down Words is appropriately civil and accurate in identifying Mike as "populist".

Blue Indiana weighs in by calling Mike a "Pandering Pushover"-- oh-so-classy... It's also hypocritical in that "their man" Baron has pandered far more aggressively on the same issue.

HoosierPundit writes at great length on Mike's essay and taking his opponents to task on a variety of things-- most notably, the pandering charge and Baron's continuing confusion about federalism.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home