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Libertarian candidate Donald Rainwater wants to cap property taxes based on purchase price

Donald Rainwater is a White man, bald, with a white goatee. He is wearing glasses and a black suit with a light blue shirt and yellow tie.
Brandon Smith
IPB News
Libertarian gubernatorial candidate Donald Rainwater said he wants to address property taxes because it's an issue many Hoosiers are struggling with.

Libertarian gubernatorial candidate Donald Rainwater has a proposal that could dramatically reduce many people’s property tax bills — one that involves changing the state constitution.

The current Indiana Constitution caps property taxes for homeowners at 1 percent of the assessed value of the property. Rainwater’s proposal would cap them at 1 percent of the purchase price.

State government isn’t funded by property taxes, local government is. And Rainwater’s proposal could blow big holes in their budgets.

He said Indiana needs to reform how local governments are funded.

“When property taxes and assessments are going through the roof and citizens are asking the General Assembly for help and for relief, the majority of them, their answer is 'Well, we don’t have anything to do with that. That’s a local problem,'” Rainwater said. “You can quote me – that’s a lie.”

State lawmakers are currently in the middle of a two-year task force devoted to reviewing Indiana’s entire tax system.

READ MORE: Advocates call for governor to create commission to address worsening housing crisis

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Rainwater’s plan would involve the state taking on a much bigger role in sending dollars to the local level.

“When people say, ‘But how will we pay for all this stuff that the government does?’ I don’t care,” Rainwater said.

Rainwater said he wants to see significant spending cuts for state government.

Rainwater also wants to ensure people don’t lose their homes for unpaid property taxes. His proposal would add an amendment to the state constitution banning asset forfeiture related to property taxes — a practice he calls wrong.

“I consider it patently immoral and unethical,” Rainwater said.

Rainwater said he would use the governor’s office as a bully pulpit to pressure lawmakers if they don’t follow through with his proposal.

Brandon is our Statehouse bureau chief. Contact him at bsmith@ipbs.org or follow him on Twitter at @brandonjsmith5.

Brandon Smith has covered the Statehouse for Indiana Public Broadcasting for more than a decade, spanning three governors and a dozen legislative sessions. He's also the host of Indiana Week in Review, a weekly political and policy discussion program seen and heard across the state. He previously worked at KBIA in Columbia, Missouri and WSPY in Plano, Illinois. His first job in radio was in another state capitol - Jefferson City, Missouri - as a reporter for three stations around the Show-Me State.