Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Opinion

April 4, 2014

April 6, 2014: Letters to the editor

Indiana must stop taxing canceled debt

Lost in all the hoopla from the state Legislature concerning lowering the business property tax and an amendment prohibiting gay marriage is the fact absolutely nothing has been done to eliminate the ridiculous tax situation affecting our most vulnerable citizens — those who have had a foreclosure on their principal residence and therefore had canceled debt.

The federal government wisely does not tax that canceled debt, but the state does. Consider that with just $50,000 of canceled debt, which is probably lower than average, a taxpayer is faced with a state tax bill of around $2,000. Any taxpayer faced with that will usually say, “If I could pay that, I wouldn’t have had a foreclosure.”

Here is a situation I had recently while doing taxes as a volunteer at the library: An elderly lady and her husband, who requires 24-hour care and is near death, had very little income, but did have canceled debt. When I told her she would owe a tax bill of $2,000 to Indiana, she said, “Well, they will just have to come and get me, because I don’t have the money.” Try consoling someone in that situation.

I have notified our state senator, Jim Buck, and my state representative, Heath VanNatter, about this nonsense, with no response thus far. I would guess very little tax money has been collected by the state from this, simply because most taxpayers can’t possibly pay it.

Wouldn’t you think any state representative with any heart at all would be embarrassed by this?

Bill Dague

Kokomo

Eric Turner doesn’t deserve re-election

State Rep. Eric Turner has a skewed idea about what it means to be ethical.

In his position, ethical conduct would be to represent his constituents, not his family’s business interests, which he did when he successfully convinced fellow Republican House members after privately lobbying to kill a proposed moratorium on building new nursing homes.

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