The first meeting of a new House committee Tuesday produced a number of suggestions for how to save money in local and state government. The House Select Committee on Government Reduction was one of two created prior to the session to help find efficiencies as the state crafts a new biennial budget. Chairman Chet Dobis elected to start with suggestions from agencies like the Indiana Association of Cities and Towns and the State Board of Accounts on how to save cash.
IACT member Mike Griffin, the Highland Clerk-Treasurer, presented a list of 87 ideas for the committee, calling himself a “big nerd” about local government. Simpler were the suggestions by Association of Indiana Counties Executive Director David Bottorff, who suggests replacing a tax deduction for owning a home with an increased standard tax deduction for all Hoosiers…
“The mortgage deduction is so paperwork-intensive and you have all these people filing mortgage reductions constantly, there’s all this paper flowing through the different county offices. I would suggest that that is probably a deduction where the cost of administering it is too high, compared to what the actual property tax relief is,” Bottorff said.
Bottorff also advocates moving municipal elections to congressional election years — an idea for which Columbus Representative and committee member Milo Smith is drafting a bill. Smith says he also likes an idea from State Board of Accounts Examiner Bruce Hartman which would scrap paper copies of many state filings.
“We don’t just have to save money, but freeing up time is money. And filing reports every month where we just file them away and nobody ever looks at them…and most of that information that’s being talked about can be found online,” Smith said.
Other ideas include using GIS land surveys to help track property reassessments, rather than sending assessors to each property individually.