[r49] Rep. Ulmer column on House Republican property tax relief standards (1/11/2008)

Friday, January 11, 2008

Start Date: 1/11/2008 All Day
End Date: 1/11/2008

(STATEHOUSE) Jan. 11, 2008 - After a long layoff, the second session of the 115th General Assembly has begun. Our biggest priority this year is finding permanent and lasting property tax reform. House committee meetings, which began in December, have been closely examining ways to cut property taxes.

House Republicans this week presented their standards for success on property tax relief. These are the criteria that we will use to determine how successful property tax relief legislation will be for Hoosiers.

Here are the House Republicans' standards for success in 2008:

  • Immediate property tax cut by May 2008.
  • Strong state and local spending caps.
  • Permanent 1 percent of assessed valuation homestead cap.
  • Remove schools and welfare from property tax.
  • Make caps and levy removals permanent.
  • Referenda for local construction and budget increases.
  • School construction projects built on local option income tax.
  • Fund all cuts with sales tax alone.
  • Single assessment official in each county.
  • I believe that with these priorities, Indiana will be in a good position for short and long term property tax relief. We should provide immediate relief with an additional $700 million in credits to homeowners by May 2008. Immediate property tax relief is vital, as many homeowners face foreclosure because of rising taxes.

    In order to get long-term property taxes under control, we first need to reduce and control spending at all levels of government. We can do this by tying government growth to income growth. House Republicans are proposing that there be voter approval for any levies over a county's average personal income growth rate for six years. Additionally, we believe that the state government should be held to that same growth restriction. State spending should not increase any more than statewide income growth. If the General Assembly decides to spend more than the average income growth, it would have to be passed by more than two-thirds of the legislators.

    Another part of our plan is to permanently eliminate school operating and transportation and child welfare levies from property taxes. The state currently pays 85 percent of local school operating funds, with the balance paid by local property tax payers. The state should be responsible for the final 15 percent of these funds, relieving the local property tax payer. In addition, child welfare is paid for by local taxpayers, but administered by state employees through state regulations and standards. If the state government is running the operation, they should be paying for the costs.

    As always, I encourage anyone with questions or concerns to contact my office. I am more than willing to help with anything that I can. I am here to work hard for you and hopefully you will have an opportunity to see this for yourself. You can either call me at 1-800-382-9841 or you can e-mail me at H49@in.gov.