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General Assembly leaders say property tax relief possible but no guarantee

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Top leaders in the Indiana House said relief from soaring property taxes might come too late for this tax year.

House Speaker Todd Huston, R-Fishers, told reporters this week members of the House Ways and Means Committee are still figuring out the best way to provide relief to taxpayers. According to Redfin, home values statewide are up by nearly 5% over last year. This drives up a home’s assessed valuation, which, in turn, increases property taxes. Huston said lawmakers haven’t yet decided whether relief would take the form of some sort of property tax credit or a refund.

“We’re trying to work through that with (the Department of Local Government Finance) for as many options as possible,” he said. “We want to look to find tax relief in some way or another, whether that’s on property taxes or something else.”

House Minority Leader Phil GiaQuinta, D-Fort Wayne, said it would be difficult to provide tax relief for this tax year. He said one possibility might be a homestead tax credit of some sort.

A month into the 2023 legislative session, social issues are already beginning to surface. Republicans in both chambers are pushing legislation to ban so-called environmental, social and corporate governance, or ESG, investing on the part of the state retirement system. The House’s version would prohibit the state from investing in funds that seek to divest from industries such as fossil fuels or firearms or that avoid companies with Immigration, Customs and Enforcement contracts.

State budget analysts estimate the bill could cost the state retirement system $6.7 billion over the next 10 years. Huston said House Republicans are working on tightening the bill’s language, but GiaQuinta said he wasn’t sure what amendments would make that large of a difference.

A House panel on Thursday also approved a bill to block the Department of Child Services from removing a child from a home solely because parents refuse to provide gender transition care or affirm the child’s gender identity, the first bill this session concerning transgender people to clear a committee.

“We have higher priorities that we should be focusing on with regard to fully funding public education, pre-K, a public health initiative,” he said.

Huston said House Republicans would release their 2023 budget numbers next week. Those figures will be the basis for further budget negotiations in the House and, later, between the House and Senate. The Speaker said Republicans’ numbers would look similar to Gov. Eric Holcomb’s initial proposals.

“All INdiana Politics” airs at 9:30 a.m. Sunday on WISH-TV.