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Lawmakers too busy for timely payment of taxes?

Indiana lawmakers have had much success in cutting property taxes in recent years; they haven’t been as successful in paying their own, however.

Indianapolis’ WISH TV researched county tax records statewide and found that nearly one in three legislators were delinquent in paying property taxes at some point over the past five years. That’s nearly three times higher than the state average.

At least 17 lawmakers were delinquent more than once during the past five years, according to the investigation, although all were current on property tax payments as of early May.

Rep. John Bartlett, D-Indianapolis, has paid four penalties for late payments during the last five years.

He attributed his delinquent payments to being tied up “doing the peoples’ business” at the Statehouse.

Rep. Bob Morris, R-Fort Wayne, told the Indianapolis TV station that the late property tax payments on a house he owns in Allen County were the responsibility of a renter, although he declined to share a copy of the rental agreement. He said he paid multiple installments on the unpaid taxes, plus penalties, when he learned in March of the outstanding tax bill.

“We all expect those who write the laws to follow the laws,” said Julia Vaughn, director of Common Cause Indiana, “It’s disconcerting when we discover otherwise.”