One of the challenges for solar companies that want to invest in Indiana is different counties charge different tax rates. A new bill would provide some guidelines.The issue is some counties have been charging solar farms very low property taxes — and others very high taxes in an attempt to keep solar farms out of their communities. Rep. Ed Soliday (R-Valparaiso) is the bill’s author.
“So they were all over the place and they said, ‘We just need some stability.’ They didn’t talk a lot about cheapness or highness, they just said bring us stability," he said.
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Some counties have taxed solar farms at the same low rate as farmland — which means less revenue for Indiana’s rural areas. Katrina Hall is the director of public policy for the Indiana Farm Bureau, which supports the bill.
“It provides transparency as far as what the values will be and consistency. And that's really all taxpayers or the local units of government could ask for," she said.
Soliday said the bill will set two relative caps. One to make a property tax rate comparable to other industrial utility projects and two to take into account where it’s located — specifically it would look at the median assessed value in that region of the state.
The bill also has support from The Indiana Energy Association and the Association of Indiana Counties.
Indiana Environmental reporting is supported by the Environmental Resilience Institute, an Indiana University Grand Challenge project developing Indiana-specific projections and informed responses to problems of environmental change.