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LARRY DeBOER: States and the cost of living

LARRY DeBOER: States and the cost of living

Indiana's income per person ranks 39th among the states. Many people respond, "Yes, but isn't our cost of living lower? Doesn't a dollar in Indiana buy more than a dollar in New York or California?" Unfortunately, data comparing the cost of living among the states couldn't be had — at least …

October 19, 2014 12:00 am
LARRY DeBOER: Economic indicators on new orbits

LARRY DeBOER: Economic indicators on new orbits

A calendar is a marvelous tool for prediction. My calendar says there will be a full moon Sept. 9 and no moon Sept. 24. Astronomers have figured out the orbit of the moon so precisely that they can predict its phases years, decades and centuries in advance. And it's printed on your calendar.

September 07, 2014 12:00 am
GUEST COMMENTARY: Indiana budget closes out with spending cuts to maintain balances

GUEST COMMENTARY: Indiana budget closes out with spending cuts to maintain balances

In France, July 14 was Bastille Day, which was great fun for the French. In Indiana this year, July 14 was Closeout Day, in which the Indiana State Budget Agency summed up the state's revenues, appropriations and balances for the fiscal year ending July 1.

July 29, 2014 12:00 am
LARRY DeBOER: Has Indiana's tax burden increased?

LARRY DeBOER: Has Indiana's tax burden increased?

The headline read, “Hoosiers’ taxes rise as income goes down.” The story told of the Tax Foundation’s finding that Indiana taxes had increased from 8.4 percent of income in 2001 to 9.5 percent of income in 2011. Like many, I thought, “You've got to be kidding!”

April 30, 2014 12:00 am
LARRY DeBOER: What new business tax commission might study

LARRY DeBOER: What new business tax commission might study

Senate Bill 1 creates a commission on business personal property and business taxation, which will include legislators, appointees of the governor and business and local government representatives, among others.

April 04, 2014 12:00 am
LARRY DeBOER: The assessor is coming to town

LARRY DeBOER: The assessor is coming to town

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.

December 24, 2013 12:00 am
GUEST COMMENTARY: Hoosier homeowners' property tax bills in 2013

GUEST COMMENTARY: Hoosier homeowners' property tax bills in 2013

We've got most of the property tax numbers for 2013 now. Let's look at what happened to homeowner tax bills.

October 26, 2013 12:00 am
LARRY DeBOER: Why is the unemployment rate falling so fast?

LARRY DeBOER: Why is the unemployment rate falling so fast?

Why is the unemployment rate falling so fast? What kind of stupid question is that?

August 24, 2013 12:00 am
GUEST COMMENTARY: Indiana's state budget recovers quickly with shrinking government

GUEST COMMENTARY: Indiana's state budget recovers quickly with shrinking government

July 11 was one of the great days on the number-crunching calendar. It was Indiana's "close-out," the day the State Budget Agency wrapped up the numbers for the fiscal year. And there's no doubt, we're in good shape. We took in more revenue than we spent in fiscal 2013, and we've got nearly …

August 04, 2013 12:00 am
LARRY DeBOER: Crunching numbers on school referendums

LARRY DeBOER: Crunching numbers on school referendums

In the May election, Indiana school districts proposed seven tax and building referendums. Five passed.

July 02, 2013 12:00 am
LARRY DeBOER: Revenue forecast up, but still not soaring

LARRY DeBOER: Revenue forecast up, but still not soaring

On April 16, the Indiana General Assembly heard the long-awaited revenue forecast update. "Up" is the right word.

May 04, 2013 12:00 am
LARRY DeBOER: A conservative revenue forecast for Indiana

LARRY DeBOER: A conservative revenue forecast for Indiana

Starting today, the Indiana General Assembly will craft a budget for the state that covers state services from July 1, 2013, through June 30, 2015, fiscal years 2014 and 2015.

January 08, 2013 12:00 am
LARRY DeBOER: Looking over the fiscal cliff

LARRY DeBOER: Looking over the fiscal cliff

Economics is not an experimental science. We can't say to Congress, "Honorable ladies and gentlemen, please drastically raise taxes and cut spending all at once so we can measure the effects on the economy of changes in the federal government's budget." This is not what elected officials do.

November 24, 2012 12:00 am
GUEST COMMENTARY: Indiana budget choices for the next biennium

GUEST COMMENTARY: Indiana budget choices for the next biennium

Economics is called the dismal science. I risk my reputation for dismal analysis by writing this, but Indiana's state budget is in pretty good shape. For the first time in years, the General Assembly will have money to work with in next year's budget session.

September 29, 2012 12:00 am
LARRY DeBOER: Smell test doesn't work when economy stinks

LARRY DeBOER: Smell test doesn't work when economy stinks

Indiana has a state income tax. Ninety-one Indiana counties have local income taxes (all but Lake). To make things easier for taxpayers and local governments, the state administers the state and local income taxes together. Taxpayers make one income tax payment, and the state keeps track of …

May 05, 2012 12:00 am
GUEST COMMENTARY: Behind the numbers of six unemployment rates

GUEST COMMENTARY: Behind the numbers of six unemployment rates

Each month the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics releases new data on the unemployment rate. January numbers were released on Feb. 3; excitement ensued. The unemployment rate dropped two-tenths of a point, to 8.3 percent. That's down from 9 percent in September. Perhaps the recovery is fina…

February 25, 2012 12:00 am
LARRY DeBOER: A gateway to Indiana local government

LARRY DeBOER: A gateway to Indiana local government

Just in time for Christmas, or the holiday of your choice, Indiana's Department of Local Government Finance has released its new Gateway data site. It contains a virtual ton of budget and tax information about counties, cities, towns and other local governments. You can see it at https://gat…

December 03, 2011 12:00 am
LARRY DeBOER: Europe is caught in-between

LARRY DeBOER: Europe is caught in-between

The biggest threat to our economy these days comes from Europe. The Greek government borrowed a lot of money that it cannot repay. If Greece defaults the resulting financial crisis could plunge the world back into recession.

November 05, 2011 12:00 am
LARRY DeBOER: This economic recovery isn't like the last Great Recession

LARRY DeBOER: This economic recovery isn't like the last Great Recession

What's wrong with the recovery? It's been almost two years since the end of the Great Recession in July 2009. The recession ended in the sense that the economy stopped declining and started growing. But growth has been very slow.

July 02, 2011 12:00 am
LARRY DeBOER: Rules of thumb for property-tax caps

LARRY DeBOER: Rules of thumb for property-tax caps

Indiana caps property taxes for taxpayers, at 1 percent of gross assessed value for homesteads, 2 percent for other residential property and farmland, and 3 percent for everything else. The results of this simple system turn out to be pretty complicated, but there are rules of thumb that mak…

June 06, 2011 12:00 am
GUEST COMMENTARY: Indiana is still in a hole, but now climbing out

GUEST COMMENTARY: Indiana is still in a hole, but now climbing out

After years of gloom in the Indiana State House, this spring saw a ray of light. The April forecast increased revenue projections for the coming biennium budget. That's the first time this has happened since a tiny increase in April 2005. You can see the projections on the Indiana State Budg…

May 07, 2011 12:00 am
GUEST COMMENTARY: No consensus among public on federal deficit

GUEST COMMENTARY: No consensus among public on federal deficit

The federal budget deficit is enormous, and the national debt is growing. So the pollsters are asking the public what should be done. The latest poll I've seen was done for NBC and the Wall Street Journal at the end of February. I found it on the Web by searching "NBC deficit poll."

April 02, 2011 12:00 am
GUEST COMMENTARY: Farmers' good times will yield higher property taxes

GUEST COMMENTARY: Farmers' good times will yield higher property taxes

My colleagues in the Department of Agricultural Economics at Purdue tell me this is a good time to be a farmer. Corn and bean prices are high, incomes are up and land values are rising. But into every life a little rain must fall, and every silver lining has a cloud. The very factors that ar…

February 11, 2011 12:00 am

Does Indiana have a structural budget deficit?

Does Indiana have a structural budget deficit? In one sense, Indiana doesn't have a deficit at all. We interpret Article 10, Section 5, of our state constitution to mean that the state must have a balanced budget. State balances must be positive at the end of each fiscal year. This requireme…

January 01, 2011 12:00 am

GUEST COMMENTARY: Analyzing trends emerging from school referendums

Indiana had 18 school referendums in the November election. Six passed; 12 were defeated. Why were there so many referendums? And what explains the results?

December 04, 2010 12:00 am

GUEST COMMENTARY: Indiana Legislature changes farmland assessments

The Indiana General Assembly has passed a bill to change the formula used to assess farmland for property taxes. Farm assessments -- and tax bills -- will still go up in coming years. Just not as much.

April 03, 2010 12:00 am

GUEST COMMENTARY: On 3.14, celebrate Indiana's slice of pi

March 14 is Pi Day. That's because pi, the ratio of the circumference to the diameter of a circle, starts with the digits 3.14159. So, March 14, at 1:59 p.m. (or a.m. if you're up) is the appropriate day and minute to celebrate pi.

March 04, 2010 12:00 am

GUEST COMMENTARY: Now we know efforts of property tax reform

It's been 20 months since the Indiana General Assembly passed the big property tax reform, back in March 2008. Now, thanks to the Legislative Services Agency, we've got some numbers about how the reforms are working out. You can see the LSA's reports on 2009 property tax bills at http://www.…

December 05, 2009 12:00 am

GUEST COMMENTARY: How to interpret your property tax bill

I was excited to find my property tax bill in the mail this month. Actually, it said, "not a bill" in big letters across it; the real bill went to my bank.

October 31, 2009 12:00 am

Is the recession over?

Is the recession over? Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke says that it very likely is. And I can almost hear the complaints: "Sure, Bernanke has a job! What about the 15 million people who were unemployed in August? Bet they don't think the recession is over!"

October 04, 2009 12:00 am

GUEST COMMENTARY: Indiana has a big four-year budget problem

It was June 30, less than 24 hours before the end of the fiscal year, and Indiana still didn't have a budget. The legislative staff had dusted off and expanded a 16-year-old memo on what might happen if the state started a fiscal year without a budget. The Indiana Constitution seems to say t…

September 05, 2009 12:00 am

School funding math includes tally of legislators

The school funding formula was one of the sticking points in this year's state budget debate. To understand why, consider an example.

July 28, 2009 12:00 am

Recovery will bring new problems to worry about

We're trying to shorten the recession with rapid growth in the money supply and with federal tax cuts and spending increases. But that means, once the recovery is well under way, we'll have two new problems to deal with: the potential for inflation and the consequences of big budget deficits.

July 07, 2009 12:00 am

Is recession defeating school bond referenda?

It's not election season, but there were four elections in Indiana on May 19. Each was a vote on a school bond issue. Under the new property tax reforms, school corporations and other local governments must get voter approval before they go ahead with big building projects.

June 02, 2009 12:00 am

It's state budget pain either now or later

We'd been waiting for months, and on April 17, it came: the updated forecast of Indiana state revenues for fiscal years 2009, 2010 and 2011. It was terrible news. Revenues would fall short of the pessimistic December forecast by an additional $831 million for the three years.

April 25, 2009 12:00 am

No sense partying like it's 1929

You can't open the newspaper these days without reading something like, "This is the (fill in the blank: worst, biggest, first time) since the Great Depression." So people might wonder, will this be another Great Depression?

November 05, 2008 12:00 am

How Indiana might fare in a recession

Indiana's state budget is balanced, and there's money in the bank. But is it enough if we have a recession? To know that we have to look at the numbers.

October 02, 2008 12:00 am

A nonbinding recommendation on property taxes

The big new tax reform law passed by the Indiana General Assembly in March adds a new feature to the process of setting local taxes. At least 15 days before budgets are adopted, all the nonschool governments in a county must submit their proposed budgets, tax levies and tax rates to the Coun…

July 03, 2008 12:00 am

A property tax echo is likely to occur in 2009

Two of the priorities for Indiana's new property tax reforms were to make property tax relief permanent and to deliver tax relief now, in 2008. Taxes in 2008 and 2009 will be lower than they were in 2007. But in some counties, the tax reform will deliver more relief in 2008 than in 2009. Som…

May 27, 2008 12:00 am

Big tax reform creates very big questions

We've got property tax reform -- the biggest, most important reform in Indiana local government finance since 1973, at least. And we've got a whole lot of questions about how these reforms are going to work. Here's what we're going to do.

March 31, 2008 12:00 am

Why aren't new income taxes proving popular?

The property tax crisis was upon us. The General Assembly offered counties three new local income taxes options, two of which directly reduced property taxes. The taxes seemed to be just what was needed.

November 19, 2007 12:00 am

How do Indiana's taxes compare with other states?

Homeowner property taxes are going up in Indiana. But how do they compare to property taxes in other states? Here's some evidence.

October 06, 2007 12:00 am

What's behind the property tax crisis?

Tax bills arrived. Homeowners were shocked. The statewide average increase in homeowner property tax bills is expected to be 24 percent, before the end-of-year rebates. The increases were larger in Indianapolis. Taxpayers protested.

August 13, 2007 12:00 am
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