Thomas E. (Tom) Saunders (Taxpayer Friendly)
Watchdog Indiana Home Page Indiana General Assembly & Governor Ratings Legislative Voting Record
Address: Box 218, Lewisville, IN 47352
Phone: (765) 987-7572
2013 General Assembly Voting Record
Voted YES on House Bill 1001, which is Taxpayer Friendly because the 2013-15 state budget makes better use of the existing state Gasoline Tax and state Sales Tax revenues from gasoline purchases with NO NEW TRANSPORTATION TAX INCREASES to increase transportation funding for INDOT by 11%, cities and towns by 34%, and counties by 23%.
Voted NO on House Bill 1011, which is Taxpayer Friendly because construction of a costly light rail transportation system cannot be approved by a new central Indiana transit district before March 14, 2014.
Voted YES on House Bill 1117, which was Taxpayer UNfriendly because it created the possibility for a minority of county income tax council members representing a minority of the county population to impose a county-wide motor vehicle excise surtax and wheel tax.
Voted NO on House Bill 1313, which is Taxpayer Friendly because it (1) supports the establishment of a 2013 interim committee to study local government regulation of residential leases and (2) prohibits a local government from adopting regulations for landlord licensing, mandatory landlord classes, and rental inspection and registration fees until July 1, 2014.
Voted YES on Senate Bill 319, which is Taxpayer Friendly because it prevents a significant shift of the property tax burden to farm working families by (1) using the current soil productivity factors until 2015 and (2) requiring the Department of Local Government Finance to confer with the College of Agriculture of Purdue University and submit a 2013 interim study committee report on soil productivity factors.
Watchdog Indiana Candidate Questions - November 6, 2012,
1. QUESTION: What are your priorities regarding the 2013-2015 state budget? ANSWER: DID NOT RESPOND.
2. QUESTION: Should the non-transportation appropriations from the state’s Motor Vehicle Highway Account be transferred to the state’s General Fund so more of our Indiana Gasoline Tax dollars can be properly spent to meet our transportation needs? ANSWER: DID NOT RESPOND.
3. QUESTION: Should the Automatic Taxpayer Refund law be (a) improved to make refunds more likely, (b) kept as it is, or (c) eliminated? ANSWER: DID NOT RESPOND.
4. QUESTION: Do you pledge to maintain both the Homestead Standard Deduction and the Homestead Supplemental Deduction without ANY change? ANSWER: DID NOT RESPOND.
5. QUESTION: What is your position regarding township government reform? ANSWER: DID NOT RESPOND.
6. QUESTION: What is your position regarding redevelopment commissions oversight? ANSWER: DID NOT RESPOND.
7. QUESTION: Do you wish to make some additional comments about your candidacy? ANSWER: DID NOT RESPOND.
2012 General Assembly Voting Record
Voted YES on House Bill 1003, which is Taxpayer Friendly because (1) public access to government meetings and records is improved and (2) it is less likely that public agencies will intentionally violate the Public Access Laws.
Voted NO on House Bill 1005, which contains six Taxpayer Friendly local government Conflict Of Interest provisions and sixteen Taxpayer Friendly local government Nepotism provisions.
Voted YES on House Bill 1376, which is Taxpayer UNfriendly because (1) the automatic taxpayer refund excess reserves trigger is increased from 10% to 12.5% and (2) Hoosier working families will possibly receive an automatic taxpayer refund every even-numbered year instead of every year.
2011 General Assembly Voting Record
Voted YES on House Bill 1001, which includes among its 16 Taxpayer Friendly state budget provisions no tax increases and an operating surplus in both the 2012 and 2013 fiscal years with a satisfactory reserve balance on June 30, 2013.
Voted YES on House Bill 1002, which is Taxpayer Friendly because (1) charter schools have the potential to help increase the academic growth of lower socioeconomic students, (2) the number of Indiana nonprofit private colleges and universities authorized to create charter schools is limited, (3) the Indianapolis mayor is the only Indiana mayor who may authorize charter schools, (4) conversion from a public school to a charter school is sufficiently stringent, and (5) property taxes are NOT improperly used to support charter schools.
Voted NO on House Bill 1003, which uses state K-12 tuition support money to fund scholarships for nonpublic school students and is Taxpayer UNfriendly because (1) nonpublic private and parochial schools are not equally open to all children, (2) nonpublic school budgets are not approved by a directly elected public body, (3) evidence-based research does not support greater school choice as a means to achieve overall educational improvement, (4) it is very likely unconstitutional, and (5) state tuition support dollars would go to nonpublic schools that are not uniformly distributed throughout the state.
Voted YES on House Bill 1022, which would have implemented a number of Taxpayer Friendly local government provisions related to nepotism and officeholder conflict-of-interest.
Voted YES on House Bill 1074, which provides that school board members selected by election must be elected at November general elections and is Taxpayer Friendly because the greater voter turnout in general elections will make it more difficult for local vested interests to unduly influence school board elections.
Voted NO on House Bill 1583, which passed as part of House Bill 1004 and is Taxpayer Friendly because the 1% homeowner property tax cap and ten homeowner property tax deductions are allowed in the year of a property transfer if the property is determined to be exempt in the year following the transfer year.
Watchdog Indiana Candidate Questions - November 2,
1. QUESTION: Do you support or oppose the November 2, 2010, Constitutional Amendment to (a) make the 1% - 2% - 3% property tax caps permanent and (b) protect homestead property tax deductions from legal challenge? ANSWER: DID NOT RESPOND.
2. QUESTION: How should the 2012-2013 state budget be balanced? Please address such issues as Medicaid spending, K-12 education, the possibility of a statewide income tax increase, and whether reserve funds should be replenished. ANSWER: DID NOT RESPOND.
3. QUESTION: Do you pledge to maintain both the Homestead Standard Deduction and the Homestead Supplemental Deduction without ANY change to help homeowners control their property tax burden? ANSWER: DID NOT RESPOND.
4. QUESTION: Do you support changing the Indiana Code so approval of the General Assembly is required before I-69 becomes a toll road between I-64 and Martinsville? ANSWER: DID NOT RESPOND.
5. QUESTION: Do you wish to make some additional comments about your candidacy? ANSWER: DID NOT RESPOND.
2010 General Assembly Voting Record
Voted NO on House Joint Resolution 1 to deny voters statewide the opportunity to amend the Indiana Constitution to (1) make the 1% - 2% - 3% property tax caps permanent and (2) protect homestead property tax deductions from legal challenge.
Voted YES on House Bill 1001, which contains 21 Taxpayer Friendly government ethics reform provisions including a 365-day wait after leaving the General Assembly before a legislator can become a lobbyist or legislative liaison, the reporting of certain expenditures by the legislative liaisons of state agencies and state educational institutions, and a reduction from $100 to $50 in the minimum reportable amount for the total daily gifts given by a registered lobbyist to a legislative person.
Voted NO on House Bill 1086, which contains 7 Taxpayer Friendly provisions including the HJR 1 Constitutional Amendment ballot language.
Voted YES on House Bill 1367, which contains 5 Taxpayer Friendly K-12 education provisions that preserve and protect instructional programs.
Voted YES on Senate Bill 23, which delays the scheduled increase in unemployment insurance premiums for one year until 2011.
Voted YES on Senate Bill 396, which mandates an adjusted six-year average that eliminates the highest value to calculate the base rate for the assessment of agricultural land.
2009 General Assembly Voting Record
Voted YES on House Bill 1001 SS, the 2009-2011 special session budget bill that (1) provides enough resources for good government AND (2) satisfactorily protects Hoosier working families from state and local tax increases. A YES vote supports a budget that is sufficiently Taxpayer Friendly. A NO vote would have shut down much of state government.
Voted YES on Senate Bill 374 to allow Regional Transportation Districts, which are new tax-imposing levels of Indiana government controlled by boards with unrestricted powers where most board members have no real connection to the taxpayers' community, to be established WITHOUT a referendum of affected voters.
Watchdog Indiana Candidate Questions - November 4, 2008, General Election
1. BACKGROUND: Senate Joint Resolution 1 passed the Indiana Senate 40-7 and the Indiana House 79-20 on March 14, 2008, and was signed by the Governor on March 19, 2008. SJR 1 amends the Indiana Constitution to cap homeowners' property tax bills at 1% of assessed value, rental and agricultural property at 2%, and business property at 3%. For property taxes first due and payable in 2012, 90 of Indiana's 92 counties must have a homeowner property tax cap that is 1% of the gross assessed value. Until 2020, existing debt service prior to July 1, 2008, is exempted from the 1% homeowner gross assessed value cap in Lake and St. Joseph counties ONLY. The result of these two existing debt service exemptions equates to a 1.88% homeowner cap in Lake County and a 1.52% homeowner cap in St. Joseph County. The homeowner caps for Lake and St. Joseph counties must become 1% in 2020. The exact same version of SJR 1 that passed in 2008 must again pass in the General Assembly in 2009 to put the 1% constitutional homeowner property tax cap amendment on the 2010 ballot. We the people can then vote to make the 1% homeowner property tax cap a permanent part of the Indiana Constitution. Never has it been so easy to separate those who are part of the property tax relief solution from those who are part of the property tax spending problem. A General Assembly candidate who pledges to vote for Senate Joint Resolution 1 in 2009 is part of the solution, otherwise the legislator is part of the problem. QUESTION: Do you pledge to vote in 2009 for the exact same version of Senate Joint Resolution 1 that passed in 2008? DID NOT RESPOND.
2. QUESTION: Do you wish to make some additional comments about your candidacy? Do you have an E-mail address? Do you have a website? DID NOT RESPOND.
2008 General Assembly Voting Record
Voted NO on Senate Joint Resolution 1, which amends the Indiana Constitution to include a cap beginning 2012 on homestead property tax in 90 counties at 1% of gross assessed value. Until 2020, existing debt service prior to July 1, 2008, is exempted from the 1% homeowner gross assessed value cap in Lake and St. Joseph counties ONLY. The effective constitutional homeowner property tax caps in Lake and St. Joseph counties are 1.88% and 1.52% respectively until their 1% cap takes effect in 2020.
Voted NO on House Bill 1001, which phases in the SJR 1 constitutional property tax caps by 2010. Also, 2008 property taxes are reduced 26% from the prior year. An increase in the sales tax from 6% to 7% and county-wide local option income taxes will be used to replace the property tax revenue reductions that result from the property tax caps.
2007 General Assembly Voting Record
Voted NO on House Bill 1001, the budget bill that is Taxpayer Friendly because the General Fund & Property Tax Replacement Fund $26.0722 billion expenditures total for the 2008 and 2009 fiscal years is less than the $26.1946 billion revenues total. HB 1001 also includes additional homestead credits from the Property Tax Reduction Trust Fund of $300 million in 2007 and $250 million in 2008.
Voted NO on House Bill 1478, which is Taxpayer UNfriendly for the following reasons: (1) Homeowner property taxes will increase 1.2% each year from 2009 through 2013 with annual decreases in the Homestead Standard Deduction. (2) The 2% Circuit Breaker Cap on residential property taxes passed by the General Assembly in 2006 has been watered down to the point where it is almost eliminated. (3) The new local option income tax for property tax relief will be offset by future property tax increases unless the new local option income tax to replace property tax increases is implemented. (4) Using the new local option income tax to replace property tax increases means that income tax increases on Hoosier working families would lower the proportionate tax burden of businesses and utilities by freezing business and utility property taxes without a corresponding increase in other business and utility taxes. (5) A new local option income tax has been authorized for public safety.
Voted NO on House Bill 1835,which is Taxpayer Friendly because it uses slot machine licensing fees and wagering taxes to establish the Property Tax Reduction Trust Fund, which is to be used for property tax relief in any manner prescribed by the General Assembly.
Voted NO on Senate Bill 401, which is Taxpayer UNfriendly because state legislators voted themselves a perpetual pay increase that is 20% more than the typical Hoosier working family earns during an entire year. SB 401 also eliminated taxpayer-paid lifetime health insurance and the $4 taxpayer match for each $1 of legislator pension contribution, but General Assembly members should not have received an excessive salary increase in return for eliminating extravagant perks they should not have in the first place.
Watchdog Indiana Candidate Questionnaire - November
7, 2006, General Election
1. BACKGROUND: Effective December 1, 2002, the Indiana sales tax increased from 5% to 6% with a promise that the proceeds would be used to decrease homeowner homeowner property taxes by 16.3%. As summarized at http://finplaneducation.net/betrayal_incompetence.htm, Indiana General Assemblies and Governors have turned the promised 16.3% decrease into a Pay 2007 property tax increase of 20.3% for the average Hoosier homeowner. Local governments are now pushing for more flexibility to levy income, sales, and other taxes under the guise of property tax relief. QUESTION: Should local Indiana governments be allowed to impose additional income, sales, and other taxes? HAS NOT RESPONDED.
2. BACKGROUND: The state's budget the last two fiscal years has been balanced without fund transfers for the first time since 1998-99 (see http://finplaneducation.net/indiana_cash_flow_data.htm). QUESTION: Should the state's total budget expenditures be no more than total revenues for the next biennium? HAS NOT RESPONDED.
3. BACKGROUND: The state's current budget is balanced with the inclusion of a one-time increase from $35,000 to $45,000 in the state-paid Homestead Deduction for Pay 2007 property taxes. This decreases property taxes for the average homeowner by 6%. QUESTION: Should the $45,000 Homestead Deduction be continued beyond 2007? HAS NOT RESPONDED.
4. BACKGROUND: Mandatory full-day kindergarten for all of Indiana's 75,000 kindergartners could cost up to $150 million. QUESTIONS: Should the state pay for full-day kindergarten? If YES, where should the state get the funds needed for full-day kindergarten? HAS NOT RESPONDED.
5. BACKGROUND: The $3.7 billion proceeds from leasing the Indiana Toll Road ("Major Moves") will be used to establish a Bond Retirement Account to pay off bonds selected by the Indiana Finance Authority, an Administration Account, an Eligible Project Account for highway improvements throughout Indiana, and a $500 million Next Generation Trust Fund to be used exclusively for the provision of highways, roads, and bridges. QUESTION: Do you anticipate the need for any state gas tax increases the next ten years? HAS NOT RESPONDED.
6. BACKGROUND: "Major Moves" projects include $694 million for a new terrain I-69 extension from Indianapolis to Evansville as well as a $500 million Next Generation Trust Fund. QUESTION: Should the "Major Moves" expenditures be combined with the Next Generation Trust Fund proceeds to build a new terrain I-69 extension without state tax increases? HAS NOT RESPONDED.
7. BACKGROUND: The 2006 "Major Moves" legislation authorizes a toll road for an I-69 extension between Martinsville and Evansville. QUESTION: Do you favor legislation that removes the toll road authorization for an I-69 extension? HAS NOT RESPONDED.
8. QUESTION: Do you wish to make some additional comments about your candidacy? Do you have an E-mail address? Do you have a website? HAS NOT RESPONDED.
2006 General Assembly Voting Record
Voted YES on "Major Moves" House Bill 1008, which authorizes the Indiana Department of Transportation to enter into public-private agreements with private entities (operators) concerning tollway projects for I-69 between Martinsville and Evansville. HB 1008 also authorizes the Indiana Finance Authority to enter into public-private agreements with operators for the Indiana Toll Road.
Voted YES on House Bill 1001, a residential property tax reduction bill that increases the homestead credit for one year in 2006 to 28% and the homestead standard deduction for one year in 2007 to $45,000. Beginning in 2007 for Lake County and 2008 for all other counties, HB 1001 also establishes a cap on residential property taxes equal to 2% of the assessed value of the residential property.
2005 General Assembly Voting Record
Voted YES on House Bill 1001, the budget bill that included seven significant homeowner property tax increases.
Voted NO on House Bill 1120, which contained thirteen negative tax impacts including a regional Food and Beverage Tax to finance a new Colts stadium.
Watchdog Indiana Candidate Questionnaire - November
2, 2004, General Election
1. Guiding Principles for 2005-07 Biennium Budget. DID NOT RESPOND. Record: Voted AGAINST the 2004-05 state budget where General Fund and Property Tax Replacement Fund spending totals exceed current revenue totals for the eighth straight year. The 2004-05 state budget also includes Pension Stabilization Fund transfers, which worsen the $8.5 billion shortfall in teacher retirement funds.
2. Opinions on Homeowner Property Taxes. DID NOT RESPOND. Record: Voted AGAINST the 2004-05 state budget where the property tax relief promised to homeowners in the 2002 special session was reduced by the so-called Homestead Credit "correction."
3. Position on Indianapolis to Evansville Interstate. DID NOT RESPOND.
4. Additional Comments. DID NOT RESPOND. Record: See the Candidate Questionnaires for the November 5, 2002, General Election and the May 7, 2002, Primary Election. Also see the Legislative Voting Record.
Watchdog Indiana Candidate Questionnaire - November
5, 2002, General Election
1-2. Special session vote AGAINST several tax increases that will increase revenues $1.7782 billion from July 1, 2002, through June 30, 2005.
3. Special session vote AGAINST a 20% gas tax increase (from 15 to 18 cents per gallon) effective 01/01/03.
4. Special session vote AGAINST a phased-in shift of the inventory tax to (1) all other types of property through an increased property tax rate and (2) a tax on the income of individuals (in those counties choosing to do so) through the establishment or increase of a County Economic Development Income Tax (CEDIT).
5. DID NOT RESPOND to General Election Questionnaire. See the Candidate Questionnaire for the May 7, 2002, Primary Election.
Watchdog Indiana Candidate Questionnaire - May 7,
2002, Primary Election
1. Voted on February 4 AGAINST the Indiana House of Representatives version of HB 1004, which did not have enough Property Tax relief in return for a 20% Sales Tax rate increase, imposed a new Business Franchise Tax (Business Activity Fee) based on net worth, and increased revenues $2.683 billion more than taxes would have been reduced through June 30, 2004.
2. Voted on February 5 FOR the Indiana House of Representatives version of HB 1317, which would have raised the Gasoline Tax from 15 cents per gallon to 16 cents during 2003 and 17 cents after 2003.
3. Voted March 13 to uphold the Governor's veto of HB 1083 so Indiana General Assembly members will remain covered by the state's Public Access Laws.
4. Did not receive Primary Questionnaire. See the Candidate Questionnaire for the November 5, 2002, General Election.
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This page was last updated on 04/30/13.