"At a press conference last Wednesday, Indiana’s House Republican leader Brian Bosma announced the Republican plan to deal with what is now commonly being referred to as the state’s property tax “crisis.”
The proposed measures included a deferral of residential tax increases that would allow homeowners to pay what they owed in 2006, and then pay increases in installments. Bosma also proposed an extension of the deadline for filing for the Homestead Credit, an immediate reassessment in any counties where gross discrepancies are apparent and dropping what he called the Democrats’ “ill-conceived” rebate plan in favor of distributing property tax relief money to counties who could in turn allocate the funds.
Bosma said there was “plenty of blame to go around” for how the state ended up in this situation, but he also noted in an issued statement that House Republicans had “predicted these dire circumstances” and opposed the current budget bill because of this.
“Now that taxpayers are getting their bills, they may understand why House Republicans opposed this property tax plan,” he added.
On Saturday, Gov. Mitch Daniels proposed a plan similar to Bosma’s pitch, dropping the rebate in favor of easing taxpayers into their new rates, receiving a less than favorable reaction from lawmakers thus far. Daniels has stopped just short of calling for a special session of the Indiana General Assembly to deal with the property tax issue.
Republican Sens. Luke Kenley (R) of Noblesville and Robert Meeks (R) of LaGrange, as well as state Rep. Jon Elrod (R), have suggested raising income taxes in order to cut property taxes.
Senate minority leader Richard Young (D) of Milltown said in a statement issued last week that Senate Democrats are poised to do “whatever possible to help bring relief” to local taxpayers hit hard by the property tax increase even if that means being called back in for a special session.
Young also said that Republicans’ claims that the current situation has come as a shock is “unfair” and blames the Republican-made budget passed in 2005 for what is going on now.
“The truth was the budget seriously underfunded public schools and forced property taxes to raise to make up for the deficit,” Young said, adding that the budget “froze state property tax relief to local units of government.”
In April, Young wrote a letter to Daniels saying that the time had come to innovate an archaic system and calling upon him to use his authority to “bring together stakeholders” in order to create a long-term solution to these sort of problems.
“We missed an opportunity then, but we must not now,” Young said in his statement last week.
Other proposed solutions from Democrats include Mayor Bart Peterson’s plan to borrow $75 million for immediate relief.