by Tony Krebs
As far as I’m concerned, property taxes have always been an undue burden on the small business owner. But when taxes on my course in Goshen, Indiana, doubled in five years, I decided it was time to take action.
Over the course of six years, I hired three different firms that were supposed to be experts at contesting property assessments. One of the firms actually saved me several thousand dollars, but their fees ate up almost all of the savings. I even tried protesting the assessment on my own, but tax laws have gotten too complicated for most people, including me.
Fortunately, the NGCOA had my back.
A group of course owners led by Linda Rogers (Juday Creek in Granger), Errol Klem (Winchester Golf Club in Winchester) and Randy Ballinger (Walnut Creek in Marion) took up the fight on behalf of our state’s golf courses. They became our highly underpaid, but extremely effective lobbyists. For two years they wrote letters and buttoned-holed legislators in Indianapolis, trying to convince them that our property tax laws needed to be reformed.
Their efforts were rewarded last year when the legislature passed a budget bill that included a provision for a different form of appraisal. Under the new law, courses are assessed based on their income instead of property value or replacement costs.
The new law has already saved me nearly $50,000 on my 2009 and 2010 tax bills, which I intend to use for some badly needed turf equipment.
I’m ecstatic about the savings and thankful for the efforts of Linda, Errol, Randy and others at the state level, as well as the NGCOA at the national level.
I’m living proof that an independent owner has a difficult time turning around legislators’ opinions. Golf courses standing on their own have no chance in that kind of fight. But there are a lot of things you can accomplish when you’re of one mind and one voice, as we proved in Indiana.
Tony Krebs is owner and head golf professional at the Black Squirrel Golf Club in Goshen, Indiana, a NGCOA member since 2004.