INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Legislative leaders on Tuesday said they plan to revisit property taxes and possibly income tax cuts as part of an inflation relief effort.
In an address to the Indiana House of Representatives after being sworn in for another term as House speaker, Todd Huston, a Republican from Fishers, said taxpayers deserve further relief, especially given Indiana’s good financial footing.
During organization day at the Statehouse, he later told reporters property tax cuts will get priority.
Indiana is still phasing in the income tax cut lawmakers approved in the spring, so he said he would avoid putting any numbers on potential further income tax cuts until after the state revenue forecast comes out in December.
“The explosion of assessed valuations has presented some challenges, so Chairman (Jeff) Thompson and the (House Ways and Means) Committee are looking at some ways to present property tax relief to Hoosiers,” Huston said, “and we’ll have more details when we come back in January.”
Huston said lawmakers would provide record levels of funding for public schools in the budget they will approve next spring. Census data show Indiana spent a little less than $11,000 per pupil in 2020, the second-lowest level in the Midwest and 14th-lowest overall.
Senate Minority Leader Greg Taylor, a Democrat from Indianapolis, said increasing education funding would do Indiana’s economy more good than providing additional tax breaks for businesses.
“Are we going to finally recognize that it’s important for traditional K-12 education to be funded at the levels that it needs to be so that the workforce we have for the future is adequate for the companies that we continue to attract to the state of Indiana?” he said.
Lawmakers from both parties have signaled a focus on health care as well for the upcoming session, with Huston calling for legislative intervention to increase competition among health care providers in an effort to lower costs.
The Governor’s Public Health Commission has recommended an additional $240 million per year in public health funding, an amount it says would bring Indiana in line with the national average on public health spending.
Senate President Pro Tem Rod Bray, a Republican from Martinsville, said he was open to working toward that number a day after he told an Indiana Chamber of Commerce panel he didn’t like the size of the price tag. Taylor said he still doubted Senate Republicans would be willing to underwrite that amount.
Hard numbers for budget proposals won’t become available until early January, when Gov. Eric Holcomb submits his proposed budget.