2013 Indiana General Assembly

Thaw of levy freeze not a done deal

2013-04-15T17:45:00Z 2013-04-16T13:57:07Z Thaw of levy freeze not a done dealDan Carden dan.carden@nwi.com, (317) 637-9078 nwitimes.com
April 15, 2013 5:45 pm  • 

INDIANAPOLIS | Lawmakers will take another look at legislation lifting the Lake County property tax levy freeze and providing for studies of region economic development projects.

On Monday, state Sen. Ed Charbonneau, R-Valparaiso, formally objected to changes made by the House to Senate Bill 585, which he sponsored.

Charbonneau's dissent sends the measure to a House-Senate conference committee where lawmakers will hammer out a compromise version that must be approved again by both chambers before it can go to the governor for his signature or veto.

"I want to have a little time to take a good look at the whole bill," Charbonneau said. "I want to take full advantage of the process."

Charbonneau described as "troubling" a House-inserted provision removing the 2007 limit on property tax collections by all local governments in Lake County, known as the levy freeze, imposed as punishment for Lake's being the only county without an income tax.

He said he's not sure whether that needs to be in the legislation because, once the Lake County Council enacts an income tax, the levy freeze is automatically lifted.

Members of the conference committee have not been named but will almost certainly include Charbonneau, and the House sponsor, state Rep. Ed Soliday, R-Valparaiso, along with Democratic members of the House and Senate.

Soliday said he's interested in possibly writing into the proposal specific directions on how revenue from the income tax currently under consideration by the County Council could be spent, though said he has no plans to cap the tax rate.

The House-Senate committee has until April 29 to reach a deal or the legislation dies.

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