Dysmey Post Archive > Pages for 2002 > State Government 2002 Edition

State Government 2002 Edition

The Indiana state legislature adjourns today after a long six-month session. After the legislators spent all that time acting like jellyfish, they finally passed a budget and tax reform package, that our harried governor will surely sign into law.

Indiana's government will still have a budget deficit, but it will not be as bad as it could have been.

Your income tax goes up to 8.5%.
The gas tax is up by 3¢.
Property taxes may go down to offset court-ordered reassessment this year. As a further offset, there will be spending caps on state and local governments tied to the income growth of their citizens and businesses. (This may include school corporations as they are weaned off property taxes.)
Lottery winners
Winnings above $1200 are now taxable. Apparently too many of you have been moving to warmer climates with your Hoosier Lotto or Powerball winnings.
The renters' deduction goes up to $2500.
Beginning on December 1, the sales tax goes up from 5% to 6%. Apparently food is now taxable. Do not bother evading it by doing your XMas shopping on the Net: more and more on-line companies are collecting sales tax now.
The pack tax is up by 40¢.
Just to show how desperate Indiana is for non-industrial business:
No income tax hike this year.

Of course, the spending cuts declared by the governor are still in effect. This means many parks, including the reservoir parks in the upper Wabash river area, will be closed this summer.

The governor has also been asking state workers to take one day off a month without pay. He's obviously banking, that those state workers with salable skills will not decide to take the rest of their lives off and look for better jobs.

Almost all of the lottery-based Build Indiana fund has been diverted to pay off the deficit. Translation: No pork-barrel projects this year.

The only good thing to have come out of this is that in their fidgeting over the reforms the legislators have not even introduced the vile UCITA bill for consideration. Thank you, O Lord! That would have really busted the budget on the legal fees alone for every software the state government would buy.

And to top this all off, ordinary Hoosiers do not know how all this came about, even though the conditions for it (esp. the property tax reform) have been brewing for years. All they see, in all their simplicity, is that a two billion dollar surplus two years ago has become a deficit. And they don't know why. And nobody tells them why. Do you think their legislators will give them an honest answer ("We spent it all!")? Not if they want to keep their jobs.

This is what happens when you sit in front of the TV with a beer in your hand and, when the time comes, not go out and vote!

Do yourself a favor, and do what I am going to do: Ignore all the lawn signs and political TV ads in the coming months; remember the extra dollar you'll pay for every one hundred dollars you'll be spending this XMas and the extra 50¢ on every fifty-dollar grocery trip next year; register to vote if you haven't done so yet; and on November 5 walk to the polling place and vote your worthless state legislator out of office!

Copyright © 2003 by Andy West. All rights reserved. Last updated 30 November 2003.