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Statehouse Democrat calls for property tax reform amid spikes in bills

State Representative Ed DeLaney speaks to reporters at the Statehouse. DeLaney is a White man with white hair, wearing a suit.
Brandon Smith
IPB News
Rep. Ed DeLaney (D-Indianapolis) said the state needs to better fund public schools in order to take pressure off the property tax system, which is a major source of funding for schools.

Hoosiers will be getting their property tax bills in the coming days and weeks – and many of those bills are going to be a lot higher than last year’s.

That's why one state lawmaker says the property tax system needs major reform.

Increased home prices across much of Indiana are driving up home values – and that, in turn, is raising many Hoosiers’ property tax bills. There’s nothing state lawmakers can do to decrease the cost of the bills people are getting this year.

But Rep. Ed DeLaney (D-Indianapolis) said the spike in bills highlights ongoing issues with the property tax system.

“One of the core problems with the property tax system is this up and down and also the fact that it’s simply too complicated,” DeLaney said.

READ MORE: Property tax relief proposal gets complicated in House committee

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DeLaney said the state needs to increase its funding for public schools – which he says are too reliant on property taxes.

“If we do that, it reduces the pressure on the property taxes as a support for the schools and frees up property tax revenue for things that are truly local,” DeLaney said.

DeLaney said that includes local government and public safety. He argued that reducing the amount of money schools need from property taxes not only frees up money for other needs, but also allows lawmakers to consider lowering property taxes.

House Republicans are pushing legislation this session, HB 1499, to create short-term adjustments to property taxes, aimed at reducing higher increases in bills the next couple of years.

Senate Republicans have proposed a temporary commission that would study the state's entire tax system, with an eye toward major reductions.

Brandon is our Statehouse bureau chief. Contact him at or follow him on Twitter at @brandonjsmith5.

Brandon Smith has covered the Statehouse for Indiana Public Broadcasting for more than a decade, spanning three governors and a dozen legislative sessions. He's also the host of Indiana Week in Review, a weekly political and policy discussion program seen and heard across the state. He previously worked at KBIA in Columbia, Missouri and WSPY in Plano, Illinois. His first job in radio was in another state capitol - Jefferson City, Missouri - as a reporter for three stations around the Show-Me State.