Committee will study Pryor plan to balance neighborhood revitalization, stop displacement

September 20, 2017 Cherrish Pryor

INDIANAPOLIS – Indiana lawmakers are set to study a proposal from State Rep. Cherrish Pryor (D-Indianapolis) designed to provide a balance between encouraging neighborhood rehabilitation and avoiding the gentrification that causes increased property taxes.

Members of the Interim Study Committee on Fiscal Policy will consider a Pryor plan to create a Neighborhood Enhancement Property Tax Relief Program at the group’s meeting at 10 a.m. Monday (September 25) in Room 431 of the Indiana Statehouse.

“This proposal attempts to address a growing concern in neighborhoods in Indianapolis and other urban areas across our state in recent years,” Pryor said.

“There has been a conflict between the desire of some homeowners to want to improve their properties in these neighborhoods and the fears by other homeowners that such improvements would create a displacement due to increased property values and unaffordable property tax increases, and cause these folks to move out of homes where some have lived most of their lives.”

A measure filed by Pryor during the 2017 Indiana General Assembly would have enabled local units of government to establish a program that would have provided a deduction for longtime owner-occupants of homesteads having an assessed value of less than $100,000. The measure did not get a hearing during the 2017 session, but Pryor said there has been increased interest in her continuing to pursue the idea in the 2018 session.

“These deductions would be provided in designated distressed areas where real property values have risen markedly as a result of the renovations of other residences or the construction of new homes in the area,” Pryor noted.

“I want to see our neighborhoods improved by getting rid of blighted homes or renovating them,” she continued. “I also want to protect those people who have lived in the same neighborhoods for many years and have kept their properties in good condition. Many of the folks who stuck it out when the neighborhoods were bad worked to bring improvements and change. They deserve to enjoy the labor of their work to revitalize their neighborhoods. They should not have to worry about the potential of losing their homes, simply because those improvements made property values grow beyond their means to continue owning their homes.

“I believe the program I have proposed that will be discussed in the study committee on Monday makes a good faith effort to provide that balance, and I look forward to an active and vigorous debate on it with my fellow lawmakers, both now and in the 2018 session,” Pryor concluded.