For immediate release:
March 10, 2016
INDIANAPOLIS — At today’s close of the 2016 session of the Indiana General Assembly, State Rep. Melanie Wright (D-Yorktown) lauded passage of legislation that offers relief for local motorists and farm owners.
“While there were some disappointments in what took place this session, I also was pleased that the Legislature took its first steps toward improving the quality of our roads and bridges,” Wright said. “I am also delighted that we were able to address the property tax needs of many in the agricultural community by giving them some needed relief.”
House Bill 1001 outlines the first steps in a comprehensive program of infrastructure improvement across the state of Indiana. By dedicating tax dollars that Hoosiers pay at the pump and a portion of the state’s budgetary surplus, lawmakers were able to provide more than $1 billion in road funding over the next few years.
“Simply traveling down most roads in our area will point out the need for this kind of program,” Wright said. “Indiana is in a roads crisis, and the provisions contained in House Bill 1001 will provide the first step in providing better roads and bridges.
“What’s equally as good is that we were able to do this without raising taxes, which was advocated by a number of influential legislators at the start of this session,” she continued.
“My belief is that we should use our state’s surplus, which was over $2 billion, and the taxes that Hoosiers already pay at the pump to improve our roads. Too many middle-class families are suffering, and we did not need to add to their burden by raising taxes. Fortunately, we were able to include significant funding for roads without raising taxes.”
Senate Bill 308 begins to address the concerns that farmers have had in rising property taxes.
“In recent years, crop prices have trended downward, while property taxes have trended up,” Wright noted. “Senate Bill 308 addresses this problem by freezing soil productivity factors at levels set in the 2011 property assessment. This will bring some relief from the burdens that far too many people in the farming community have faced in recent years.
“Throughout this session, roads and farmland have been two of the issues that have generated the most interest from people living in the 35th House District I represent,” she added. “In these two cases, we have heard those concerns and started to take action. It will be important to build on these reforms in sessions to come.”