STATEHOUSE (March 6, 2008) - Senate and House Republicans joined together today to declare their agreement for a plan that gives Hoosiers immediate property tax relief and permanent property tax reform.
The agreement, announced at a joint gathering of the two General Assembly Republican caucuses, gives taxpayers statewide an immediate 30-percent cut in their homestead property taxes, and it phases in circuit-breakers over the next two years. It also endorses the permanent constitutional caps called for in Senate Joint Resolution 1.
"I am pleased to join with our House Republican colleagues in embracing a plan that is good for Hoosier homeowners and address the needs of schools and local governments," said Senate President Pro Tem David Long (R-Fort Wayne). "I invite our House Democrat colleagues and Gov. Mitch Daniels to join with us and make House Bill 1001 the crisis-ending piece of legislation it can be. I also invite them to help start Senate Joint Resolution 1 on its historic journey to becoming part of the Indiana Constitution."
House Bill 1001 began as Gov. Daniels' property tax reform plan.
"The end of session is almost here, and so are the agreements that will end the property tax problem occurring in towns across the state," said Rep. Dick Dodge (R-Pleasant Lake). Steuben and De Kalb counties have not experienced the problems other areas of the state have seen. I think this plan will help the areas in trouble, without burdening our communities."
"At the beginning of this session, each of the four caucuses had goals in mind for resolving the current property tax crisis," said House Republican Leader Brian C. Bosma (R-Indianapolis). "This joint proposal meets the House Republican goal of substantially cutting property taxes now and capping them forever while empowering voters to control future spending. Immediate relief and permanent reform is what we had hoped for and what this proposal delivers."
"Our goals have been to develop a property tax plan that cuts and caps Hoosier homeowner's property taxes and controls government spending," Sen. Luke Kenley (R-Noblesville) said. "We have listened to the concerns of schools and local governments and believe we have developed a plan that can be a win-win-win for everyone involved
Rep. Jeff Espich (R-Uniondale), ranking Republican member of the House Ways and Means Committee, said the agreement offers relief for all Hoosiers, whether they are rich or poor.
"This plan provides tax relief - both property tax and income tax - to low-income Hoosiers who need it the most," Espich said. "And it offers permanent property tax relief to all homeowners, no matter what their income is."
The House-Senate plan for HB 1001 is based on five main principles:
Help for Hoosier homeowners. The plan features $700 million in new, immediate relief, $1 billion removed from property tax levies, referenda that empower voters to control or allow spending and a constitutional guarantee of property tax caps.
Help for all Hoosier property-tax payers. Cut now and cap forever. The plan, in addition to immediate relief, forwards the process of permanent caps through a constitutional guarantee of property tax caps.
Help for local governments. The plan, at the county level, removes four child-welfare levies and the cost of juvenile incarceration from property taxes. At the municipal level, it removes the remaining pre-1977 police and fire pensions from property tax, and it includes support for police and fire services.
Help for Hoosier schools. The plan removes school operations, school pension bond costs and special education preschool costs from property taxes. It also includes $100 million in circuit-breaker relief and $400 million in tuition reserve fund money.
Help for low-income Hoosiers. The plan includes an overall decrease in taxes for low-income taxpayers, renters' deductions, deductions for low-income senior-citizen homeowners and earned income credits.
HB 1001 and Senate Joint Resolution 1, which would lead to permanent property tax caps being placed in the Indiana Constitution, are in conference committee, where differences between the House and Senate versions are being worked out. If both houses of the General Assembly agree to a final version of HB 1001, it would go to Gov. Daniels for his signature. If both Houses agree to a final version of SJR 1, it would be presented to the next General Assembly. If the same version passes that Legislature, it would be placed on the statewide ballot for all Hoosier voters. If they approve it, it would become part of the state Constitution.