November 6, 2007 local voters did what politicians always said we could do (as their excuse for not legislating term limits) but never did: we “voted the bums out”. It didn’t seem to matter what party folks were, the incumbents had to go. Anyone even remotely connected to the property taxes debacle had to go. And now the politicians are running scared because while they can schedule tax day as far away from elections as possible, property taxes come due awfully close to election time. Oops!

Suddenly our legislature has gotten bipartisan fever as they try to come up with solutions to the property taxes imbroglio, I mean, relief. They don’t necessarily want to push to raise income taxes, because we’d “see” that too painfully. An increase in sales tax wouldn’t be felt quite so acutely. The last thing they want to do is further penalize homeowners.

We live in the land of opportunity, seeking prosperity for ourselves and a legacy for our family. The lure of home ownership is part of what we’ve defined as the American Dream. Ownership means folks have a stake in the community. Higher taxes may seem like uptown problems, but—as Indiana faces a skyrocketing foreclosure (and bankruptcy) rate—we risk knocking the legs out of the housing market once folks realize they can’t afford the tax on their dream.

Many of us were clutching to middle class by our fingertips. I know that when I opened up my property tax bill, essentially our government was asking an extra three months mortgage payment out of me; or, to put it another way, an entire month of my wife and I’s combined salaries. I didn’t (and don’t) mind making sacrifices and paying my fair share, however, there is a tipping point.

There’s an old folk saying about how if you throw a frog into hot water it will immediately hop out; but if you put it in cold water and slowly raise the temperature, it will eventually allow itself to be cooked to death. While, this folk doesn’t match the reality for frogs, it does match the reality for tax payers. You increase our taxes all at once, you’ll get a revolt. Apparently if you raise them by degrees, we’ll allow you keep raising them.

All I’m saying is that it’s time to break out the thermometers people.

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