Dealing with rising property assessments
As a licensed real estate appraiser and member of the Delaware County Board, I know all too well how Indiana property taxes are assessed and collected. In 2007, when a new assessment method – mandated by the Indiana Supreme Court – caused property taxes to skyrocket, I became heavily involved in local and statewide efforts to solve this problem and protect Hoosier taxpayers from financial hardship and the potential loss of their homes. The result of our statewide efforts to highlight meaningful solutions resulted in legislation in 2008 that permanently capped property tax rates at 1% of the property assessment for residences. personal, 2% for agricultural land and rental properties and 3% for commercial properties.
Since 2008, property tax caps have provided Hoosiers with reliable and stable property tax bills. Unfortunately, the caps do not take into account the drastic increases in assessed value, which we are currently experiencing due to the boom in the real estate market. The combination of market value increases, low inventory and strong demand is causing many homes to sell above asking price within hours of listing. This year’s valuations are based on home values in 2020, when the housing market started to take off. This can result in incremental increases in assessed value. In many cases, assessed values have already increased by 15-30% or more. This dramatic increase in assessed value, combined with rising inflation, will create financial hardship for many Hoosiers, especially those who can least afford it.
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To give Hoosiers reliable and affordable property tax assessments, we need to close this loophole in the law and find a way to cap the tax payable at a certain threshold increase in assessed value. My career as a real estate appraiser and as a member of local government has given me a unique skill set that will be of great help to the Indiana Legislature in addressing this critical issue. As a fiscal conservative, I strongly believe that the state government should not spend more than necessary to provide essential services and allow hard-working Hoosiers to keep more of their hard-earned income. As the next state senator, I will put my skills to good use and work with my colleagues in both chambers to address this issue head on and reform our evaluation system again so that we no longer have shock of sticker when receiving annual property tax bills.
Scott Alexander is chairman of the Delaware County Council and Republican candidate for State Senate District 26.