STATEHOUSE – With the legislative session over, many bills have passed out of the General Assembly which the governor has signed into law. State Representative Tom Dermody (R-LaPorte) has worked on a number of those bills that will positively impact the state.
“It has been a great honor to work alongside my colleagues again to make positive changes in our state,” said Rep. Dermody. “Many bills were considered and voted on this session, and some of what I championed aim to promote four-year graduation pace for college students and protect Hoosier homeowners in LaPorte County and throughout the state.”
Authored by Rep. Dermody, House Bill (HB) 1348 makes various changes to the Frank O’Bannon Grant and 21st Century Scholars Program. The bill encouraging students to maintain a four year graduation pace by basing financial assistance on classes completed rather than classes registered for. It also extends that assistance into the summer months.
This legislation seeks to protect LaPorte County homeowners by authorizing the Department of Local Government Finance to delay the payment of tax bills imposed for the March 1, 2012 or Jan. 15, 2013 assessment dates. In addition, the bill creates a 2 percent discount for those that pay their property taxes on time. If payments are not met in the allotted time, the bill creates an additional 12 month period before allowing property to go up for public auction.
Another facet of HEA 1261 aims to expand the payment options for a county’s local fiscal body. It provides them the opportunity to select between two payments plans on property tax or special assessment bills. The plans must be adopted before the bills are mailed and they consist of; allowing repayment to occur over six months in equal portions or by making a single payment at the end of a six month period.
To further property Hoosier homeowners, Rep. Dermody co-sponsored Senate Bill (SB) 152. After property is assessed, if a homeowner feels their assessment was calculated inaccurately, they have the ability to appeal their case to the Property Tax Assessment Board of Appeals (PTABOA). If the assessed value is increased by a certain amount, PTABOA is responsible for proving whether or not the assessment was done accurately. If a homeowner wins the appeal and after PTABOA determines the assessment was incorrect, a new and more accurate assessment is established and used for taxing purposes.
Currently, the law designates property owners must continually appeal their assessments every year based on its original assessed value. SB 152 establishes that homeowners, who win an appeal, are able to use PTABOA’s newly assessed value as a guideline for future property assessments. In doing so, a homeowner is less likely to appeal their assessments using the newly established amount.
Additionally, this bill benefits homeowners who overpaid on their property taxes. Instead of getting a flat rate of 4 percent, the homeowner will get the interest rate that was in effect for the particular year they overpaid.
“Session provided a great opportunity to protect taxpayers, help college students and support bills benefiting our state,” said Rep. Dermody. “With this session behind us, I look forward to continuing to work for Northwest Indiana on finding solutions to any concerns and considering additional ways to move Indiana forward.”
Visit www.in.gov/legislative for more information on HB 1348, HEA 1261 and SB 152.