Interest rates are low. The 10-year Treasury bond rate, which forecasters use as a benchmark, averaged 1.6 percent in August. That's the third lowest monthly rate in the past 20 years. The 30-year home mortgage rate averaged 3.4 percent in August. That's the fifth lowest rate in the past 20 years.
Our economic expansion started in July 2009, so it's 70 months old and counting. Since the end of World War II, the average expansion has lasted 58 months. That makes our expansion a whole year older than average. Is ours an elderly expansion, about to enter the December of its years? Are its days numbered?
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.