A local government workshop will be held Monday, Dec. 9, at the Union County Library from 1-3:30 p.m.

Chaired by Dr. Larry DeBoer, Purdue University Dept. of Agricultural Economics, the workshop will focus on the state's property tax system and how property tax caps work.

It will be localized by having data from this and other surrounding counties. Trends and data include for the counties of: Dearborn, Fayette, Franklin, Union and Wayne. 

Also speaking are: Tamara Ogle, Purdue Extension Community Development; Molly Hunt, Purdue Extension Delaware County; and John Hawley, Purdue extension Dearborn County.

It is sponsored by Purdue Extension Union County and the Union County Foundation. Pre-registration can be accomplished by contacting the Purdue Extension Union County Office at 765-458-5055 or email jchestn@purdue.edu. Please register by Saturday, Dec. 7.

Light refreshments will be served. The workshop is free. This is a workshop for local elected and appointed officials, economic development professionals and community leaders, according to a flyer published by the Purdue Extension Community Development.

According to a press release, in Indiana, each local government unit sets its property tax levy or what it intends to collect through property taxes based on its budget and other revenue sources. The levy is then divided by the assessed value in the local government's jurisdiction to get a property tax rate.

Every property parcel is served by a set of local governments: a county, a township, a school district and perhaps a city or town, library or specialdistricts.

The tax rates of these overlapping government units are added up to the total tax rate a taxpayer sees on their tax bill. Tax bills are then capped at 1 percent for homesteads, 2 percent for farmland/other residential and 3 percent for all other property.

The tax caps provide a tax break for property owners but create a revenue loss for local governments. The loss of taxes through these tax-cap credits is then shared by the overlapping units. 

Each unit's revenue depends on the actions of the other units, so often local officials from one unit may not see or understand how they fit into the complete property tax system. Nor do they usually have the opportunity to compare their data to others in the region or of similar population.

The median property tax rate in Indiana is $2.15 per $100 net assessed value. Of the counties covered in the workshop, Franklin and Union counties have an average tax rate at or below the state median. Not surprisingly they also have the highest assessed value per capita in the region at $46,124 and $50,432, respectively. 

On the other hand, Fayette County has the highest average tax rate in the region at $3.84 per $100 assessed value. Fayette's high tax rate is due, in part, to their low assessed value of $30,126 per capita falling in the lowest 10 percent of counties in the state.

The workshop will dive deeper into these numbers as well as take a look at the variations within each of these counties. 


DeBoer is a professor and extension specialist in Agricultural Economics at Purdue University. DeBoer joined the Purdue faculty in 1984. He studies state and local government public policy, including such topics as government budget and taxing options, issues of property tax assessment, local government revenue options, and the fiscal impact of economic development.

DeBoer worked with the Indiana Legislative Services Agency on tax and finance issues from 1988 to 2014, and continues to contribute to LSA's annual property tax analysis. DeBoer directed a study on market value property tax assessment for the Indiana State Board of Tax Commissioners during 1995-97. He directed the staff work for Governor O'Bannon's Citizen's Commission on Taxation, 1997-98, and contributed research to Governor Daniels' Commission on Local Government Reform in 2007. He writes a monthly column about Indiana and national economic topics, called Capital Comments, and posts on Twitter under @INTaxRockStars. DeBoer was the 2009 recipient of Purdue's Hovde Award for service to the rural people of Indiana, and the 2010 recipient of the Indiana Association of Public School Superintendent's Distinguished Service Award.
DeBoer writes the macroeconomic outlook section of the Agricultural Economics Department's annual outlook effort. He teaches an undergraduate course in macroeconomics with an enrollment of 200 to 400 each semester and has authored a macroeconomics textbook. In 2013, he was named to Purdue's “Book of Great Teachers,” and in 2015, he received the Murphy Award, Purdue's highest award for undergraduate teaching.
Source: Purdue University profile.

Tamara Ogle is a Community Development Regional Educator for Purdue Extension. She specializes in local government and coordinates the statewide On Local Government program. Her local government work includes both education and research of the property tax system, farmland assessment and local government structure.

Tamara also serves on the Purdue Extension Succession Planning and as a coach for the Hometown Collaboration Initiative. She teaches sessions for community leadership programs and facilitates community forums and group decision-making processes.
Source: Purdue University profile.

Vivian Risch contributed to this article.