On July 14, after a journey of more than 3 billion miles and almost 10 years, we flew a spacecraft past Pluto and took snapshots. That was exciting. Two days later, the Indiana State Budget Agency provided excitement closer to home: a snapshot of Indiana state finances after a 365-day journey through the 2015 fiscal year.
It started in 1973, when Governor Bowen pushed his property tax relief package through the Indiana General Assembly. Counties could adopt the county adjusted gross income tax (CAGIT) if they wanted more property tax relief than the new state program delivered.
Farmers are worried about property taxes on farmland. So is the governor and members of the General Assembly. They did something about it on April 29 in the closing hours of the 2015 legislative session.
Dagney Faulk and Mike Hicks at Ball State's Center for Business and Economic Research have written another excellent study of Indiana property taxes. This one's about assessment quality.
Once again, farmland assessments and property taxes are going up. The Department of Local Government Finance, which oversees the property tax in Indiana, has set the base rate per acre of farmland for 2015 taxes at $2,050 per acre. That's a 16 percent increase from the base rate for 2014 taxes. In December the DLGF announced the base rate for 2016 at $2,420, another 18 percent increase.
It's the holiday season, and in the Indiana Statehouse that means one thing: time for the state revenue forecast. Legislators gathered in Room 404 on Dec. 18 to learn how much money they'll have to work with for the 2016 and 2017 budgets.
It was like a scene from a movie. The kind Frank Capra would have made, had he made one that took place on Halloween. A nighttime streetscape canopied with a thick blanket of leaves in hues of red and gold. Front yards transformed into graveyards and other ghoulish settings. Just the right amount of fright.