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Gard, Cherry Back Property Tax Agreement
March 12, 2008 - State Sen. Beverly Gard (R-Greenfield) and Rep. Bob Cherry (R-Greenfield) joined Senate and House Republicans today to declare their agreement and support 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.
House Bill 1001 began as Gov. Daniels’ property tax reform plan.
“I am encouraged by the support for this reform package that contains both immediate and permanent property tax relief for Hoosiers,” Gard said. “I think this is a thoughtful and sensible approach to a long-standing problem.”
“We have come together on an agreement that will provide an immediate 30-percent cut on homeowners property tax bills,” Cherry said. “This proposal permanently protects homeowners from the large increases that some saw this summer by controlling government growth. I’m hopeful that all the conferees will sign the committee report and we can vote on this relief package.”
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.
“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.”
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