(Statehouse) July 17, 2007 - One of the most important steps to providing homeowners with property tax relief, according to state Representative Tom Dermody (LaPorte), is to eliminate the ill-conceived rebate check scheme. Under a plan created by Speaker of the House B. Patrick Bauer, rebate checks will be sent to homeowners sometime in December or early next year for an approximately 15 percent reduction off their property tax bills. Instead of wasting taxpayer dollars calculating, organizing, and then mailing out the rebate check, Rep. Dermody wants the state to create a more streamlined system that does not require homeowners to pay the full property tax cost upfront and then get a rebate.
"While there needs to be a long-term overhaul of the entire property tax situation, there also needs to be a solution to the immediate property tax problem," stated Rep. Dermody. "The rebate check forces homeowners to pay all of the costs upfront and then they will receive a check in the mail sometime early next year. This program places Hoosiers on fixed incomes in a tight spot, since they are still required to pay the huge increases in taxes first, then wait months to get some of their money back."
The rebate plan requires the county auditor to determine a rebate for every household, get the amount approved by the state, and then mail the checks to homeowners. Included in the mail will be a letter stating, "A portion of your local property taxes due in 2007 are being refunded due to tax relief provided by the Indiana General Assembly. Your refund is in the amount of $________ (insert amount of refund)." It is estimated that each check will cost $25 to produce.
"The rebate plan is a waste of taxpayer dollars," continued Rep. Dermody. "County officials will spend time and taxpayer money processing these checks when they could be doing other things. In total, taxpayers will be paying nearly $40 million throughout the state just to process and send out the rebate checks. We need to give immediate relief; not spend taxpayer dollars on these checks that will arrive next year."