[r51] Dodge's Column (1/11/2008)

Friday, January 11, 2008

Start Date: 1/11/2008 All Day
End Date: 1/11/2008
The legislative session has resumed, and this year's main focus is finding immediate and permanent property tax relief for Hoosier homeowners. The entire General Assembly recognizes we are in a property tax crisis, and the House Ways and Means Committee began a series of hearings around the state in December to gather public testimony on House Bill 1001. HB 1001, which is based on Gov. Mitch Daniels' plan, proposes permanent limits on how much Hoosiers will pay, capping residential property taxes at 1 percent of the assessed valuation, rental property at 2 percent and business property at 3 percent. The bill would fund property tax cuts through a one cent increase in sales tax and existing funds alone. The state would pick up child welfare levies and the balance of K-12 school operating funds as well as school transportation funds. This would provide $1.1 billion in property tax relief. I would also like to see homeowners have the power to decide which local projects to approve. School construction projects are the fastest-growing portion of the property tax levy; 37 percent of the growth in property taxes comes from school debt service. By allowing taxpayers to decide, we can ensure fiscal responsibility. This is a short session, but I am pleased with the way things have started out. There are still several details of HB 1001 that need to be worked out, but I am confident that this bill will provide tax relief to Hoosiers everywhere. I am always open to hearing your questions, concerns or comments so please do not hesitate to contact me by phone at 1-800-382-9841, or e-mail h51@IN.gov. It is also possible to write me at 200 W. Washington St., Indianapolis, IN 46204.