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Farm Bureau property tax amendment

Voters will find three proposed state constitutional amendments on the ballot in November, and, though Public Question Number 1 is expected to pass, the Harrison County Farm Bureau has advised its members to vote against the first proposed amendment.
The question asks, ‘Shall Article 10, Section 1 of the Constitution of the State of Indiana be amended to allow the General Assembly to make certain property exempt from property taxes, including a homeowner’s primary residence; personal property used to produce income; and inventory?’
‘It would allow the opportunity to completely exempt owner-occupied residences,’ said Kent Yeager, a Farm Bureau representative who lives in Mauckport.
Homeowners, who already benefit from a $35,000 exemption, are expected to support the amendment overwhelmingly, but the Farm Bureau believes that farm properties will ultimately suffer from the tax break.
‘Most farmland saw an increase that came from the $35,000,’ Yeager said. He said the Farm Bureau was anticipating a 13-percent decrease on property tax for farmland but instead calculated a 24-percent increase as a result of efforts to account for tax revenue lost to the exemption.
The Farm Bureau questions the legality of the initial break for homeowners and now finds it overshadowed by the possibility of fully exempting personal residences.
‘We are a little leery of opening that up,’ Yeager said.
The second component of the amendment, which would exempt personal property used to produce income, may mislead some voters. Personal property refers mainly to depreciable items like tractors and combines on a farm as opposed to ‘real property,’ which would include farmland.
The last component, exempting inventory, refers primarily to items awaiting sale.
Public Question Number 2 may cause some confusion in Harrison County due to the fact that the county already meets the intent of the proposed amendment.
The amendment would allow the General Assembly to establish a uniform date for beginning the terms of office for the circuit court clerk, county auditor, recorder, treasurer, sheriff, coroner and surveyor.
Circuit Clerk Carole Gaither said Harrison already has a consistent date of Jan. 1 for beginning those terms.
Public Question Number 3 outlines the process of filling the office of governor when both that office and the office of lieutenant governor are vacant.