A bipartisan Marion County study commission tonight recommended phasing out the homestead property tax credit over two years, a move that could increase taxes slightly for most homeowners.Let me tell you what was going on behind the scenes. Republican Councilor Jack Sandlin could not attend the meeting tonight. Republican Mayor Ballard's administration was concerned there was enough votes on the Commission to support the increase in property taxes. So another Republican Councilor Marilyn Pfisterer was told to attend the meeting to cast a proxy vote (of dubious legality) for Sandlin to ensure the elimination of the homestead tax credit passed. So we had three Republican elected officials fighting to ensure residents' property taxes are increased. The issue now moves on to the Indianapolis City-County Council.
The 6-4 vote indicated a split, with some Local Homestead Credit Review Commission members wanting to keep the credit. There also was a question about whether to count the vote of City-County Council member Marilyn Pfisterer, who supported phasing out the credit as a proxy for fellow Republican council member Jack Sandlin. Commission rules require six votes to make a recommendation, so it might not stand without her vote.
The recommendation goes to the council, which created the commission as part of a bipartisan budget agreement with Mayor Greg Ballard.
You can bet that local Democrats are licking their chops at the prospect of running in 2015 against Republicans who voted to raise property taxes. Unfortunately Republican councilors, with the consistent exception of Christine Scales, have supported every tax and fee increase that have been proposed in the last 5 1/2 years, and there have been a multitude of them. But raising property taxes, given their enormous unpopularity, are on a completely different level. If Republicans think raising property taxes won't have any effect on their re-election, they might spend some time refreshing their memories as to why Mayor Bart Peterson lost in 2007.