Mayor Hogsett puts forth plan for rising property taxes, some want more done

Lexington Street in Fountain Square
Posted at 10:58 PM, Aug 09, 2022

INDIANAPOLIS — From 2017 to 2021, assessed values for homes in Marion County increased 35% leading to increased property taxes. Bethany Schultz, a realtor and a multiple homeowner, has felt this first-hand.

"We saw our property taxes double last year," Schultz said. "On those six properties, we pay north of $10,000. When first moved here, it was $5,000 or $6,000."

To try and help combat the rising property tax bills, Mayor Joe Hogsett announced a plan on Monday night. As part of the proposed 2023 budget, homeowners will receive either a $100 or $150 tax credit depending on the value of their home.

Marion County Tax Credit Proposal

"It's a nice gesture from Mayor Hogsett but I think we need to do better," Schultz said.

Schultz and her wife, Kelly Weger, worry rising property taxes will lead to changes in the neighborhood, Fountain Square.

"That's also going to push the hand of gentrification because families that have been here for decades and generations have seen their taxes jump even if they haven't made improvements to their home," Schultz said.

"We try and keep people, the creative artists, and neighbors who are single moms, keep them in their neighborhood and when our taxes jump, it means we have to raise rent," Weger said.

"We're trying to keep Fountain Square funky and keep that diversity and that's challenging when you do have to raise the rent," Schultz said.

Since 2017, State Representative Cherrish Pryor has been introducing bills that would bring property tax relief to areas experiencing gentrification, but the measures never move forward at the Statehouse. A spokesperson for Rep. Pryor said she will introduce the bill again in the 2023 Legislative Session.

Weger said she's seen how laws like that help slow down gentrification.

"I lived in Austin 15 years ago and they had it set up so that people who had been there for a long time, there was a maximum percentage increase it could go up each year. Your property value couldn't just double," Weger said.

While many housing analysts are predicting home values will soon fall, property taxes will lag behind those decreasing prices. Schultz and Weger hope elected leaders will decide to help those most impacted by rising property taxes

"There has to be some different consideration for people who've been here for generations and don't have a source of income," Weger said. "That $100 or $150 might make a big difference to them, but it's only once a year."

The City-County Council will vote on the mayor's proposed $40 million budget for 2023, which includes the proposed property tax credit, at the October council meeting.