Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Breaking News

Columns

December 29, 2013

LARRY DeBOER: You better watch out: The assessor is coming to town

Bad tax policy encourages people to do silly things.

The holidays are here, and that means we get to watch the great holiday movie, “A Christmas Story.” Then we get to watch it again. And again.

We’re fine with that, especially here in Indiana. The movie is set in the Hoosier State, and it is based on stories by Indiana’s own Jean Shepherd. He narrates the movie, too.

Some of the scenes in “A Christmas Story” come from Shepherd’s collection, “In God We Trust: All Others Pay Cash.” In the book you’ll find stories about Flick, the Red Rider BB gun and the old man’s special award.

Read on, though, and you’ll come to my favorite — the only humorous story I’ve ever found about Indiana property taxes. It starts out funny, anyway, but it gets a little dark toward the end. The story is “‘Nevermore,’ Quoth the Assessor, ‘Nevermore….’”

Back in the day, Shepherd wrote, “The Indiana personal property tax was very personal.” Household property used to be taxed. The local assessor would tramp through your house, assessing the carpet and the fridge and the radio. Then you’d get a tax bill, which some people paid — and many people didn’t.

In the story, the assessor is spotted up the street. The mom whispers to the narrator (presumably Ralphie), “The Assessor! For crying out loud, quick. Unplug the radio! Take it down to the coal bin!” The assessor arrives, and mom tells him the fridge hardly works and reveals the hole in the rug, usually hidden under the davenport. Ralphie can’t understand it. He shouts, “No Ma! Ma, it’s our refrigerator! It has great ice cubes!”

We amended Indiana’s constitution in the 1960s to eliminate household personal property taxes. Later, we dropped automobiles from the property tax, replacing this with the motor vehicle excise tax. Then, from 2003 to 2007, we phased out property taxes on business inventories. The base of the property tax has been narrowed over the past 50 years. All that’s left is land, buildings and business equipment.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Columns
  • Hicks: Measuring the unmeasurable

    One aspect of economic research I think is especially powerful is the ability to measure or monetize the things that humans clearly value but for which a market price is not necessarily apparent. This is one of the aspects of economic analysis that gives it such dominance over other social sciences.

    April 17, 2014

  • Rob Burgess House of Burgess: Bush presents 'The Art of Leadership'

    On April 5, “The Art of Leadership: A President’s Personal Diplomacy,” opened at the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum on the campus of Southern Methodist University. The display, which runs through June 3, boasts “portraits of more than two dozen world leaders” painted by Bush, according to the official literature.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Bohanon: ‘Economics is fun’ in Vegas or in Bible study

    I am writing this on an airplane to Las Vegas. I’ll be attending the annual conference of the Association of Private Enterprise Education along with two of my colleagues and six of my students.

    April 16, 2014

  • Hayden: Want better teacher ratings? Ask the kids

    The state may be back where it started, encumbered with a flawed teacher grading system, a year after implementing what were meant to be tough new standards.
    That was the general consensus of the State Board of Education days after teacher evaluation data were released last week.

    April 15, 2014

  • BRIAN HOWEY: Mike Pence for president in 2016? Stay tuned Mike Pence for president? The swirl of 2016 national ticket talk surrounding Gov. Pence intensified over the past few weeks. I sat down with the governor in his office on Tuesday to find out what he's really thinking. A few hours prior, the Weekly S

    April 14, 2014

  • DICK WOLFSIE: Such a thing as too much My wife and I went on a binge last week. If you think I'm talking about an eating binge, you've never seen how thin we both are. If you think I mean a shopping binge, you don't know how cheap we are. And if you think it was a cleaning binge, you've n

    April 14, 2014

  • ED VASICEK: Chewing over news in bite-size vignettes Today, I am going to share a few "opinionettes" about current news items. Ready? Let's go! City prosperity The unemployment rate in the United States is down to 6.7 percent. This is its lowest level since October 2008. When I remember government effo

    April 13, 2014

  • MICHAEL HICKS: Finding measure of value One aspect of economic research I think is especially powerful is the ability to measure or monetize the things humans clearly value but for which a market price is not necessarily apparent. This is one of the aspects of economic analysis that gives

    April 13, 2014

  • PUBLIC EYE: Right across the county line

    Grant County has wind problems, and as an editor recently and quite rightly noted, “Wind doesn’t care about county lines.”

    So Grant County’s issues over a proposed E.ON Climate & Renewables wind farm are becoming Howard County’s issues as well.

    April 13, 2014

  • RAY DAY: My wife and life, Ramona Today, I will tell you a story about my soul mate and wife, who has been with me for more than 57 years now. Time has gone by so quickly, it only seems like yesterday when we met. Her name is Ramona; I call her Moni for short. Her friends call her Ra

    April 12, 2014

Latest news
Featured Ads
Only on our website
AP Video
Disbanding Muslim Surveillance Draws Praise Hundreds Missing After South Korean Ferry Sinks Passengers Abuzz After Plane Hits Swarm of Bees Boston Bomb Scare Defendant Appears in Court Pistorius Trial: Adjourned Until May 5 Diaz Gets Physical for New Comedy Raw: Ferry Sinks Off South Korean Coast Town, Victims Remember Texas Blast Freeze Leaves Florida Panhandle With Dead Trees At Boston Marathon, a Chance to Finally Finish Are School Dress Codes Too Strict? Raw: Fatal Ferry Boat Accident Suspicious Bags Found Near Marathon Finish Line Boston Marks the 1st Anniversary of Bombing NYPD Ends Muslim Surveillance Program 8-year-old Boy Gets His Wish: Fly Like Iron Man Sex Offenders Arrested in Slayings of CA Women India's Transgenders Celebrate Historic Ruling Tributes Mark Boston Bombing Anniversary Raw: Kan. Shooting Suspect Faces Judge
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Obituaries
Poll
Kelly Lafferty's video on Tom Miller