Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Misleading JG Story on Property Tax Bill

The end of Niki Kelly's story about property taxes in today's JG is misleading. Here's the part of the story covering the constitutional amendment to cap property taxes at 1%:
The Indiana House also was to consider House Joint Resolution 1 to place circuit breaker language into the Indiana Constitution.

House Democrats wanted to pass the bill in the form that Gov. Mitch Daniels preferred, but House Republicans wanted to debate additional issues.

“The Democrats packed their ball up and went home,” House Minority Leader Brian Bosma said. “It appears they were not sincere about entertaining constitutional caps.”

Even though the House resolution died, the Senate measure remains alive and can be acted on by the House.

Kelly doesn't mention why the bill was killed. As I wrote yesterday, the Republicans added an anti-gay marriage amendment to the property tax bill. First, that's just stupid and second it's against house rules since the amendment is clearly not germane to the bill. For Bosma to try and spin this as anything but his fault is laughable. And Niki Kelly should not have left the most important fact out of the story...

UPDATE: You can read Kevin Knuth's take at the Allen County Democratic Party's blog

UPDATE2: In the comments Kelly points out that the story does contain the reasons why the bill was killed - they are in the second paragraph. My confusion (and perhaps others) stemmed from the fact that Bosma's quote regarding this bill was at the bottom of the story


Kevin said...


I could be wrong, but I think that "house rule" only applies in the Senate.

Regardless- what a crock!

Jeff Pruitt said...

It appears the House does have that rule as Masson linked to it the other day:

80. Germane. No motion or proposition on a subject not germane to that under consideration shall be admitted under color of an amendment.

And apologies for not originally linking to your post on this - I saw it too late...

Phil Marx said...


I think you're being unfair to Nikiki Kelly. When she said "House Democrats wanted to pass the bill in the form that Gov. Mitch Daniels preferred, but House Republicans wanted to debate additional issues," I think she summed it up pretty well.

She didn't need to specifically mention what the "additionmal issues" were for a reader to clearly understand that it was the Republicans, not the Democrats, who are playing games.

Jeff Pruitt said...


What those additional issues are is an important detail because it would clearly spell out that those issues are not germane to the property tax bill whatsoever.

Without that context the reader might think the "additional issues" were actually related to property taxes.

niki said...

The second paragraph of the story probably clears up your concerns.

"Meanwhile, a similar House measure died Tuesday night after Democrats withdrew the bill to avoid debating several House GOP amendments, including a complete repeal of property taxes on homesteads and a constitutional ban on gay marriage."

Jeff Pruitt said...


Fair enough - it is in there. I think it would've been clearer to the reader (at least to me) had that information been incorporated somewhere near the bottom of the story where Bosma's quote is.

It must be a hectic time to be covering the statehouse and I doubt I'm the only that appreciates your work (even if I complained about this piece)...