Letters to the Editor
Let your lawmakers know how you feel
To the Editor:
As a taxpayer and a concerned citizen I thought I would write to give my perspective of the tax situation here in the state of Indiana.
The idea of property tax caps should be a concern for everyone. Yes, there was a reduction of taxes for some people who pay taxes on a home. But for anyone that has other property, taxes went up, drastically in some situations. The idea of property tax caps has positive and negative sides, as does any topic. The most important part of the whole issue though should be the fact that the tiered structure of these caps is just not "fair or equal." That unequalness is what is driving the need to put these caps into the constitution.
One of the things that I think is not being fully understood by a lot of taxpayers is this: These caps will not keep your taxes from going up. Yes, they will be capped at one, two, or three percent. But that is a cap based on the assessed value of your property, meaning your tax obligation will rise as your assessment rises. If and when there is a need for money beyond the amount collected for property taxes, income taxes may be used to fund the difference.
Also, what do you own and at what percentage is it going to be taxed? Your home's taxes will be capped at one percent of assessed value. If you have any acreage or a rental house, the cap will be two percent. If you have any personal property, like a boat, tractor, RV, or small business, you will pay up to three percent.
Let's assume that the house you live in is assessed at $120,000 after all deductions are taken, a rental house that is worth the same amount, and an RV also worth the same amount. You will pay a maximum of $1,200 on your house, $2,400 on your rental house, and $3,600 on your RV.
These caps will not keep government from growing. They will, however, hurt business and industry. Small and large businesses will be greatly affected. Farmers will be hit very hard, as they will have an increase on both their land and their equipment.
Lastly, these caps should not be put into the constitution. The only reason that putting them in the constitution is necessary is because they are unconstitutional in the first place. The whole idea of this "property tax reform" is to make us think that our elected officials are actually reforming something. What they are really doing is just shuffling things around in order to gain votes. Please look closely at what is being proposed. Think about how this will affect not only you, but your neighbor and your state. Then be sure to voice your opinion to your elected officials. They need to hear what you have to say.
There's no better time to quit
To the Editor:
As of April 1, the federal tax on a pack of cigarettes increased from 39 cents to $1.01. In Indiana, this means that a pack of cigarettes now costs nearly $5. The tax on "other tobacco products" has also increased.
"Other tobacco products" include little cigars (from 3.7 cents to more than a dollar), smokeless tobacco (from 4.4 cents/can to 11.3 cents/can, nearly tripling in price) full-sized cigars, and pipe tobacco. Indiana Tobacco Prevention and Cessation has seen the tobacco industry target our youth with these "other tobacco products" and it's important that the tax on these items are raised as well.
The revenue from the increased federal tobacco taxes will be used to expand the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), a federal initiative that provides health services for low-income children.
Research shows that an increase in the price of tobacco products from a tax increase encourages adults to quit and youth not to start. In fact, numerous studies indicate that for every 10% increase in the price of cigarettes, youth smoking drops by 7% and overall cigarette consumption falls by about 4 percent.
Each year in the United States, tobacco use kills more than 400,000 people and costs the nation more than $96 billion in health care costs. In Indiana, tobacco-related diseases claim the lives of more than 9,700 Hoosiers every year and account for health care losses estimated at $2.08 billion.
A key resource, available to Hoosiers, is the free Indiana Tobacco Quitline: 1-800-QUIT-NOW (784-8669). Open every day from 8 a.m. until 3 a.m., the quitline is staffed with trained quit coaches who are available to provide free tips and counseling on how to quit using tobacco.
Locally, a free tobacco cessation class will begin April 16, from 6 -- 8 p.m. Greene County Tobacco Prevention and Cessation (GCTPC), Greene County Home Health Care, Greene County Health Department, and Greene County General Hospital are working together to provide the class. It will be held every Thursday evening for nine weeks at the hospital's conference room. This class is taught by a certified tobacco cessation counselor.
To register for the class, please call Chris Sparks at 847-9496.
Ease your economic burden and improve your health. Register to participate in the cessation class or call the toll free quitline. There's never been a better time to quit!