(STATEHOUSE) Jan. 24, 2008 - Hoosiers are a step closer to property tax relief after the Indiana House of Representatives on Thursday passed House Bill 1001 by a vote of 93-1. The bill now heads to the Indiana Senate.The bill contains about $700 million in new property relief, along with $250 million in already scheduled relief for 2008 and about $300 million in relief in 2009. The immediate relief should cut most homestead property tax bills by about one-third.
It also removes school operating and transportation funding and child welfare funding from local property, shifting the responsibility to the state.
Several elements of the House Republicans' Standards for Success were eliminated or altered in the final bill, such as a state spending cap and a strong referendum process. The bill does not have a state spending cap, and voters would be allowed to vote only on school projects not directly related to classroom learning, such as athletic fields.
"The plan gives meaningful, immediate and permanent property tax relief as we go forward in the process," said Rep. Gutwein. "However, there are a few things I don't like. I strongly disagree with the removal of the referendum. This is an insult to Hoosier taxpayers. Citizens are capable and should have the right to vote on projects that could potentially affect their property taxes.
"Another measure of the bill I do not support is capping only local government spending. If we are going to cap spending for local governments, then the same rule should apply to state spending. Lastly, the bill also includes $336 million in spending."
Although the bill has been changed from its original form, it still contains several elements that House Republicans have fought for. It offers immediate property tax relief, includes caps on property taxation and includes at least some form of public referenda on public spending.