January 13, 2023
The Big Issues
- This summer the General Assembly took a comprehensive look at the barriers and opportunities for housing growth in the state by convening the Housing Task Force, on which Aim served and testified. The Task Force concluded with several recommendations for action by the General Assembly this session that are beginning to be introduced as legislation.
- HB 1005 is the House Republican agenda bill that came from the Task Force. It includes a framework for a revolving loan fund to support housing projects that can otherwise not secure sufficient financing to be profitable with priority for local governments that voluntarily waive restrictive local standards.
- SB 300 and HB 1081 support Aim’s legislative initiative to expand the residential TIF program. Specifically, removing the restrictions on which communities can access this tool that are based on recent housing stock growth.
- Aim will continue to monitor all the conversations around legislation dealing with the cost of housing development to ensure that the focus stays on collaboration and incentives for local units instead of preempting local planning, zoning, or standards.
- Rising home prices in 2021 and 2022 have led to large increases in the assessed value of residential property. Though the exact amount of the increase is unknown, it is expected to increase by 10% or more. This has led to concerns in the legislature about how to provide relief to residential taxpayers facing rising costs in an already uncertain economy.
- Many bills have been filed on this issue. Some bills cap the amount residential assessed value can grow from year to year. Others cap the amount that residential property taxes can grow each year. Others provide additional deductions or exemptions for residential property. Whichever ideas move forward this year, it will certainly be a focus for the legislature.
- Aim’s priority is to ensure that any proposed reform recognizes the uncommon nature of the current housing market and does not make sweeping changes to the property tax system to deal with an individual circumstance. A reform should be narrowly tailored to the specific circumstances of the current issue and avoid unintended consequences to the system in the long-run.
- The 2023 Legislative Session is a budget year where the General Assembly crafts the state’s biennial budget. Revenues going into this budget session are growing solidly, but not exceptionally like they were during the last budget session. Governor Holcomb has introduced his budget proposal that includes significant investments in K-12, funds the Governor’s Public Health Commission recommendations, and increases state police pay.
- Included in the Governor’s budget proposal is a second round of READI funding. This is an additional $500M for regional capital and economic development projects being made available to the same regional partnerships that applied for the last round of READI funding.
- Aim will work to support the proposed budget and ensure that important provisions like READI continue to be funded as the budget moves through its future iterations. The budget can also be home to funding for local infrastructure, utilities, housing, and more priorities of Aim and the General Assembly so we will work to ensure the budget reflects those priorities.
- Earlier this year, a town was dissolved due to a determination by the county that the town did not have a functioning government. This process had not been initiated in many years and has raised many procedural questions that need to be clarified by the General Assembly.
- HB 1060 seeks to clarify the process by which small towns with a population under 500 are dissolved so that the confusion that occurred earlier this year does not occur again. It replaces the current determination of whether a town is “functioning” with whether the town board has been properly elected and clarifies the procedures for disposing of the town’s property and responsibilities if it is dissolved.
- Aim will work with the bill authors to ensure that the bill is narrowly tailored to towns that are actually not functioning and doesn’t inadvertently capture the many functioning small town governments that provide valuable services to their communities.
- SB 317 allows cities and towns to provide prepayments or deposits for goods and services which is currently disallowed under Indiana law. Large prepayments over $150,000 would require insurance to guarantee public funds.
- SB 317 represents one of Aim and ILMCT’s long-standing operational initiatives. Local units have long been at a disadvantage with other purchasers by being unable to place deposits on goods and services, but this problem has become worse recently as high demand for contractors have led more to require deposits to secure contracts.
- SB 317, authored by Sen. Andy Zay (R-Huntington), has been filed and assigned to the Senate Local Government committee.
AIM LEGISLATIVE MOMENT
“It’s important for [our members] to say what they are hear, and in this case it’s also important for them to say what they’re not hearing. In most of my conversations, there’s been almost no local rhetoric about increasing property tax bills. That’s a really important thing to take into consideration. We have to be careful that just because we’ve had a slight spike in assessments, we don’t jump the gun and take a quick approach to something that may not even be a problem.”
– Matt Greller, Aim CEO
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