(STATEHOUSE) Jan. 24, 2008 - Hoosiers are a step closer to property tax relief after the Indiana House of Representatives on Thursday passed House Bill 1001, co-authored by Rep. Jeff Espich (R- Uniondale), by a vote of 93-1. The bill now heads to the Indiana Senate.
The bill contains about $700 million in new property relief, along with $250 million in already scheduled relief for 2008 and about $300 million in relief in 2009. The immediate relief should cut most homestead property tax bills by about one-third.
It also removes school operating and transportation funding and child welfare funding from local property tax, shifting the responsibility to the state.
"This bill represents a lot of good things," said Rep. Espich. "It brings a 35-percent homestead credit to taxpayers within this year, which is a major improvement for Hoosiers."
Several elements of the House Republicans' Standards for Success were eliminated or altered in the final bill, such as a state spending cap and a strong referendum process. The bill does not have a state spending cap, and voters would be allowed to vote only on school projects not directly related to classroom learning, such as athletic fields.
"HB 1001 is a good bill, but it can be improved. It doesn't have a state spending cap, which I hope to see in the final version," says Rep. Espich. "I believe in the referendum process, allowing people to vote on construction projects that directly affect their tax bills. I have always trusted the judgment of the public and their right to make spending decisions."
Although the bill has been changed from its original form, it still contains several elements that House Republicans have fought for. It offers immediate property tax relief, includes caps on property taxation and includes at least some form of public referenda on public spending.
Rep. Espich encourages constituents to contact him with questions or concerns through e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, by calling the Statehouse toll-free at 1-800-382-9841 or by writing him at 200 W. Washington St, Indianapolis, IN 46204.