STATEHOUSE (March 23, 2009) - Rep. Bruce Borders (R-Jasonville) voted today to give Hoosier taxpayers more than $200 million in extra property tax relief by making the 1-, 2- and 3-percent property tax caps effective a year early.
Under House Enrolled Act 1001, which became law last year, those caps were scheduled to become effective with property taxes paid in 2010, but Rep. Borders and the House voted 85-11 today to make them effective with property taxes payable this year. The vote came on an amendment to Senate Bill 388, which deals with property tax levies for mental health services. The bill now moves to a third and final reading in the House.
"This was an unexpected move, but it's one that I support 100 percent," said Rep. Borders. "Hoosier families are really struggling to make ends meet, and this will allow them to keep more of their hard-earned money.
"Even more, the fact that this amendment passed blows away any opposition to passing permanent property tax caps. If these caps are important enough to lower as soon as possible, they're important enough to make permanent as soon as possible."
Based on figures from the Legislative Services Agency, a bipartisan division that serves as the research wing of the General Assembly, reducing the limits from their current 1½-, 2½- and 3½-percent levels to 1, 2 and 3 percent will save Hoosier taxpayers more than $200 million.
"It's not surprising that the amendment passed with bipartisan support," said Rep. Borders. "This is another way to get more money into the hands of Hoosiers who need it now more than ever. And last year, we thought it was important, too, and the legislature voted 79-20 to pass Senate Joint Resolution 1. The message is clear. Property tax caps work. And now is the time to make them permanent."
SJR 1 contains the constitutional amendment with the permanent property tax caps of 1, 2 and 3 percent. Both houses of the General Assembly passed SJR 1 last session, and the Senate, with bipartisan support, already passed it this session.
The property tax caps would limit bills to 1 percent of the property's assessed value for homesteads, 2 percent for agricultural property and 3 percent for business property. To become part of the Indiana Constitution, an amendment must be passed by two consecutive, separately elected sessions of the General Assembly and by Hoosier voters in the next general election.