For months, the debate about how to solve the property tax crisis has filled headlines across the state. A few proposals were discussed, but there wasn't a concrete plan for Hoosiers to embrace-until now.
Last week, Governor Mitch Daniels announced his plan to provide immediate, lasting property tax relief. Daniels has presented a three-tier plan, which will provide property tax relief, limit future increases in local spending and fix Indiana's broken system of assessing property.
The plan will place permanent limits on property taxes by capping homeowners' property taxes at 1 percent of the assessed value, reducing the average homeowners' tax bill by about one-third. This will give Indiana the ninth lowest homeowner property tax burden in the U.S. Rental property will be capped at 2 percent and a 3 percent cap will be placed on business property. Gov. Daniels will seek a constitutional amendment to ensure these caps are permanent.
Relief will be provided to Hoosiers beginning in 2008 through:
The state will also assume the responsibility of school operating and transportation cost, welfare and the state fair and forestry fund, which are currently paid by local taxpayers. School transportation costs are significantly higher in rural counties, and urban counties spend more in welfare, so this plan will drastically reduce local expenses evenly between urban and rural counties.
In addition, the governor's plan will limit future increases in local spending. Each county will have a tax board that will review and approve spending plans of all taxing units, and significant local construction projects will be subject to public referenda. Referenda will also be used to approve local spending that requires the county to spend more than the average personal income growth over a six-year period.
The plan will also fix the broken assessing system in Indiana by eliminating elected assessors. Instead, each county council will appoint a professional assessor, helping to ensure that all property is assessed fairly.
After months of study, this plan takes into account the best and most feasible ideas forwarded by Hoosiers across the state. This solution is well thought out, practical and meets the criteria of immediate relief.
In the months leading up to session, I'm sure the plan will receive some alterations, but at least now we have a starting point.
If you have any questions, feel free to contact me by phone at 1-800-382-9841, by e-mail at email@example.com or by mail at 200 W. Washington St., Indianapolis, IN 46204.
Visit us online at www.in.gov/legislative