INDIANAPOLIS – As the Indiana General Assembly winds down its 2023 session, lawmakers are still negotiating a bill to provide property tax relief.

At the beginning of the session, legislative leaders in both the House and Senate said property tax relief would be a top priority this session. They have until the end of the week to reach a deal, but lawmakers in both chambers say they’re confident they’ll hold a final vote in time.

The effort comes as many Hoosiers are seeing higher property tax bills due to rising property value assessments.

“I dealt with a senior citizen who stayed in her home 40+ years but was forced to relocate because she could not afford to pay the increase of her property taxes,” said Dee Ross, founder and CEO of The Ross Foundation, who works closely with Central Indiana residents struggling to stay in their homes.

Ross said he believes it’s critical lawmakers pass property tax relief before their session ends.

“Any little bit helps,” he said.

House Republicans proposed temporarily reducing Indiana’s 1% cap on property taxes in House Bill 1499. But Senate Republicans instead opted to allow local governments to choose their own relief and make it easier for homeowners to challenge assessments.

Now the two sides must negotiate a final bill.

“I think it’ll have a lot of the provisions we passed originally in the House bill,” State Rep. Jeff Thompson (R-Lizton), House Ways and Means committee chairman, said Tuesday.

Senate Bill 46, which now heads to the governor, would allow local governments to provide tax credits to some Hoosiers who have owned their property for at least 10 years and saw an increase of more than 2% in their tax bill.

But some local leaders, such as Democratic Mayor Tom DeBaun of Shelbyville, are concerned about the idea to lower the property tax cap. Property taxes fund schools and local agencies.

“Certainly there are some things that you just can’t cut back,” DeBaun said. “Public safety is one of those things. So then which other departments take their haircuts?”

Senate Minority Leader Greg Taylor (D-Indianapolis) said he believes lawmakers can help homeowners and local governments.

“Why don’t we put forth some funds that allows the municipalities if they see a dip, if we say for example, give a tax credit, that we reimburse them for that,” Taylor said. “We have the resources to do it.”

Another bill that passed in the General Assembly this week, House Bill 1005, would provide incentives to build more affordable homes in rural communities; it would offer loans for infrastructure projects. That bill now heads to the governor’s desk.