This article about proposals to engrave property tax caps into the Indiana Constitution by Lesley Stedman Weidenbener is fine, but the headline is just awful: “Indiana GOP wants tax caps formalized.”
The property tax caps are already part of the Indiana Code. That’s pretty darn formal, not just some handshake agreement or something scrawled on a napkin somewhere. The critical distinction between the Republicans and the Democrats on this issue isn’t formal versus informal as the headline suggests. It’s whether the property tax formulation developed last year is a good idea for the circumstances we currently face or whether it’s some sort of eternal verity. Democrats think the property tax caps at the rate of 1% of assessed value for owner-occupied residential real property, 2% for farmers, and 3% for businesses are a good idea for the foreseeable future; Republicans apparently think this particular formula will be a good idea forever.
The headline’s frame that suggests a law isn’t formal unless it’s part of the Indiana Constitution is pernicious. It suggests the current property tax caps can be changed on a whim rather than requiring the vote of a majority of Indiana’s elected representatives and the approval of the Governor.