Senior citizens stage tax protest
Indianapolis - Higher property tax bills, angry homeowners and orders for property reassessment in Marion County have all added up to a big headache for some homeowners.
Outside the governor's residence Friday, a group of senior citizens staged the latest protest over taxes. The governor's order to freeze property taxes at 2006 levels will help some homeowners in the short term, but the people protesting Friday want a long-term fix.
They held up signs that said things like, "The only fair tax is a sales tax" and "Seniors should be relaxing not worrying about unfair taxing."
Jim Hart said he wants to see more than just a temporary tax freeze.
"We'd like to see the governor use his exective ability and he's certainly talented in that regard to get the General Assembly to take a really close look at the tax situation. We know you have to have taxes to have the services but they need to be equal and it isn't right for me to be paying more taxes on my home than a multimillion dollar company on Keystone," he said.
Thurman Anderson was also protesting. "I'm out here hopefully to lend some support to this thing called tax relief. It's a darn shame they have to raise taxes so high. I think it was a mistake how they did it. I hope it will make a difference for all of us getting here and trying to show our support for some tax relief. That"s what we really need," he said.
"I would like to see the taxes lowered and by possibly raising the sales tax or and also seeing the money where it is going that's coming from the lotteries and also from the [casino] boats. I just don't know what is happening. The money's draining away. And also I think we need to re-form the government from the top down."
Anderson's sign explained he is an 81-year-old WWII veteran who was in danger of being taxed out of his home.
"My taxes have more than quadrupled over the past two years and my home I know has not appreciated that much," he said.
Concern over property taxes brought Mel Main out. "I am now up to $9,400 a year in property taxes when my house payment is $481," he said.
Callie Sanders is president of the Butler Tarkington neighborhood association that put the peaceful demonstration together. "I appreciate the governor freezing it but how long is the freeze going to last? When will it melt and you'll still have the same problem of people who cannot pay."
Marion City County Councillor Monroe Gray says his property taxes went up 88 percent. "We need to eliminate the nine assessors. Have one assessor so we can have uniform form to replace people's property and make taxes fair."
Protesters are hopeful that the governor will call for a special session of the state legislature. While he is working towards that, lawmakers must reach a consensus before convening since it costs $25,000 a day.
5:00 pm update
The Indiana Apartment Association organized an unrelated protest in front of the City-County Building Friday afternoon. Renters are afraid they will have to pay higher rents so owners can maintain their investments. Those renters fear they will get squeezed out of their apartments.