INDIANAPOLIS – Republican state lawmakers say they’re exploring ways to provide property tax relief to Hoosiers when they return to the Statehouse early next year.
House Speaker Todd Huston (R-Fishers) cited many Hoosiers’ rising tax bills amid climbing assessed property values as the reason they’re planning to review Indiana’s property tax system.
“The explosion of assessed valuations has presented some challenges,” Huston said.
While officials don’t have a specific plan yet, Senate President Pro Tempore Rod Bray (R-Martinsville) said lawmakers will proceed cautiously since property tax revenue goes to local governments, not the state.
“We have to be super careful obviously that the impact that that has on local governments and schools,” Bray said.
Several local officials in Indiana say they have concerns and would prefer the Statehouse look at cutting other taxes.
“Roughly 60, 68% of our revenues come from the property taxes, and so we’ve got police and fire and street employees,” said Dan Ridenour, the Republican mayor of Muncie.
Indiana sets statewide caps on property tax rates. Local governments can go beyond those limits, but they need approval from voters first.
Greenwood city controller Greg Wright says it’s not easy to get residents on board.
“If there’s no replacement revenues for them from some other source, then we would really have to start looking at cutting some services,” Wright said.
Speaker Huston told reporters Tuesday he understands the concerns local officials may have and said their input will be heard as lawmakers work on a plan.
“We’ll work with our local government partners to figure out how we can provide relief, how the state might be able to support that relief,” Huston said.
Meanwhile, Senate Minority Leader Greg Taylor (D-Indianapolis) argues it’s a discussion that doesn’t belong at the Statehouse.
“I think we should leave that up to the local officials and let them handle property taxes at the local level,” Taylor said.
Lawmakers are still in the early stages of discussing this idea, and they’re not ruling out the potential for other tax cuts as well, Huston said. They’ll share a proposed plan when they return to the Statehouse in January.