INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – Legislative leaders on Tuesday said they plan to reconsider property taxes and possibly income tax cuts as part of an anti-inflation campaign.
Addressing the Indiana House of Representatives after being sworn in for another term as Speaker of the House, Todd Huston, a Fishers Republican, said taxpayers deserved further relief, especially given Indiana’s strong financial footing.
During the organizational day at the Statehouse, he later told reporters that property tax cuts would be a priority.
Indiana is still phasing in the income tax cut approved by the Legislature in the spring, so he said he will avoid providing numbers on possible further income tax cuts until the state revenue forecast is released in December.
“The explosion in estimated valuations has presented some challenges, so Chairman (Jeff) Thompson and the (House Ways and Means) Committee are looking at ways to present Hoosiers with a property tax break,” Huston said, “and we’ll have more.” Details when we come back in January.”
Huston said lawmakers will allocate record levels of funding to public schools in the budget they will approve next spring. Census data shows that Indiana spent just under $11,000 per student in 2020, the second-lowest level in the Midwest and the 14th-lowest overall.
Senate Minority Leader Greg Taylor, an Indianapolis Democrat, said increasing funding for education would benefit Indiana’s economy more than additional tax breaks for businesses.
“Will we finally recognize the importance of traditional K-12 education being funded at the levels required so that the workforce we have for the future will suffice for the businesses we continue to lure into the state? Indiana?” he said.
Lawmakers from both parties have also signaled a focus on healthcare for the upcoming session, with Huston calling for legislative intervention to increase competition among healthcare providers and reduce costs.
The governor’s Public Health Commission has recommended additional public health funding of $240 million per year, an amount that would supposedly bring Indiana in line with the national average in public health spending.
Senate President Pro Tem Rod Bray, a Republican from Martinsville, said he was ready to work toward that number a day after telling a panel at the Indiana Chamber of Commerce that he didn’t like the height of the price tag. Taylor said he still doubts Senate Republicans are willing to take on that amount.
Hard numbers for budget proposals won’t be available until early January, when Gov. Eric Holcomb submits his budget proposal.