April 14, 2023
The Big Issues
RESIDENTIAL PROPERTY TAXES
- HB 1499 is the bill that contained the House’s proposals for granting property tax relief to residential taxpayers due to increases in property values last year. It included several concepts, including changes related to levy growth, lowering the property tax caps for a period, and adjusting homestead deductions.
- In the Senate Tax and Fiscal Policy committee this week, most of the language on residential property tax relief was removed from the bill except for the provision authorizing local counties to voluntarily provide tax rebates or credits on taxes owed in 2023. Other language related to food and beverage taxes was added to the bill including a sunset for exiting food and beverage taxes, additional reporting requirements and new food and beverage tax authorization for Columbia City, Jasper, and Merrillville.
- Conversations on residential property tax relief will continue through the end of session and Aim will continue to advocate for providing targeted relief while protecting municipal revenue sources. HB 1499 may still be the vehicle for that conversation but, for now, the most concerning language has been removed from the Senate version of the bill.
LOCAL GOVERNMENT FINANCE
- HB 1454, authored by Rep. Craig Snow (R-Warsaw) and sponsored by Sen. Eric Bassler (R-Washington), is the annual Department of Local Government Finance agency bill that is often a home for other language affecting local government finance. This week it was amended on the floor of the Senate, addressing some concerns Aim had with language in the bill.
- The amendments removed the language exempting streaming services from paying franchise fees, removed the retroactive effective date on property tax exemptions for senior living facilities, and removed some property tax appeals language that would have made it far easier for apartment buildings to win property tax appeals.
- There is still concerning language left in the bill that provides places health care facilities in the 2% property tax cap category and language that eliminates the ability to charge cable companies permit or other fees for accessing public rights-of-way. Aim will continue to work on these items as the bill goes to conference committee.
- On Thursday, the Senate released their version of the State budget. It continues to fund the READI program (which they renamed the Capital for Collaborative Communities program) at $500M, additional public health funding at $225M, and the residential housing revolving fund at $75M.
- The Senate removed language that would have changed school corporations’ operating property tax levies and exempted them from the tax caps as well as removing language for a new LIT expenditure rate that goes directly to county government for public health. They reinstate the Funding Indiana’s Roads for a Stronger, Safer Tomorrow (FIRSST) taskforce to look at long-term road funding challenges, especially in the area of increased electric vehicle market penetration, on which Aim will have an appointment.
- The major differences between the House and the Senate versions appear to be on education funding, including new voucher expansions and education or career savings accounts. There has generally been broad consensus so far on the issues that impact cities and towns so far in the three versions of the budget.
- SB 242 as introduced would allow local floodplain administrators to use existing FEMA maps for approving construction and other local purposes instead of the new LIDAR-created DNR maps.
- On the floor of the House this week, SB 242 was amended to allow the use of the new DNR maps starting in 2025 if they conduct a public hearing in the county or city considering using the maps and the local unit approves the use of the new map by ordinance. This will impact floodplain administrators throughout the state.
- SB 242, authored by Sen. Jean Leising (R-Oldenburg) and sponsored by Rep. Beau Baird (R-Greencastle), will be voted on by the full House next week.
TAX INCREMENT FINANCING
- SB 419, authored by Sen. Travis Holdman (R-Markle) and sponsored by Rep. Jeff Thompson (R-Lizton), is the annual Department of Revenue agency bill that contains many updates to the internal revenue code. This week, it was amended on the floor of the House to remove the language that affected municipal utility rates and PILOTs.
- The bill still contains the language previously housed in HB 1085 that only allows RDCs to spend money throughout the year on projects outlined in their annual plan.
- Aim opposes this language because it reduces the flexibility of RDCs to respond to economic development opportunities throughout the year.
AIM LEGISLATIVE MOMENT
“The next two weeks are going to be dominated by conference committees. So, say it was a house bill that was introduced by a representative and then the senate made any changes, the house member can decide to agree with those changes or take it to conference committee to change the form of the bill. During conference committee is when language that may not have been initially in that bill can be added to that bill so really, it’s a time that keeps us on our toes.”
– Jenna Bentley, Aim Government Affairs Director
Our Legislative Summary Sponsors
Please click on the logos below to learn more about our sponsors.