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Sunday, May 1, 2016

Counties struggle with taxes

Monday, March 31, 2003

Most of Indiana's 92 counties are struggling with property tax reassessment this year.

State Rep. Clyde Kersey, D-Terre Haute, told about 30 residents gathered in the YMCA Community Room Saturday part of the problem was that reassessment computer software was not delivered to counties on time.

Some counties are preparing statements based on old assessments, planning to change the numbers when the new assessment information becomes available. Other counties haven't begun assessment.

"We're going to have a real mess getting tax bills out on time," Kersey said.

The result will be that cities and public school districts, counting on two tax draws this year, will have to borrow money to make ends meet while waiting for tax funding from the state.

Meanwhile, some lawmakers have an eye on the state's overall tax structure as they plan for the future.

Kersey said House Bill 2008 would give 60 percent of Indiana's tobacco lawsuit settlement to fund health programs for people who smoke and to educate everyone about the harmful effects of smoking. The remaining 40 percent could be used to attract new industry to Indiana.

State Rep. R. Brooks LaPlante, R-Terre Haute, agreed with Kersey that high technology industries must be attracted to Indiana.

While Indiana's tax structure is built on manufacturing, fewer manufacturing jobs are available. In the mid-1960s, 40 percent of Hoosiers worked in manufacturing. Now, 17 percent work in manufacturing and the number is declining, LaPlante said.

He praised the Legislature for doubling the research and development tax credit last year and favors a move to a variable tax structure that would shift more of the tax burden to established, profitable companies and away from new companies.

Sen. John Waterman, R-Shelburn, also agreed the Indiana tax structure must encourage economic development and praised the Legislature for "getting involved in proactive thinking for the first time."

Closer to home, news on Clay County's property tax re-assessment is expected within the next month.

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