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“It’s bad.” Tippecanoe County tax assessor warns changes to Indiana law could impact tax revenue

Tippecanoe County assessor Eric Grossman warns that changes to Indiana law could have a huge impact on local tax revenues (Photo taken from YouTube)
Tippecanoe County assessor Eric Grossman warns that changes to Indiana law could have a huge impact on local tax revenues (Photo taken from YouTube)

Tippecanoe County’s assessor brought local officials together last month to “raise the alarm” about changes to Indiana tax assessment law that could have a massive impact on the region's revenues.

The move could mean changes to tax values that officials say might ultimately be unconstitutional.

According to Tippecanoe County assessor Eric Grossman, the changes to state law would specifically impact how apartment complexes are assessed - significantly lowering taxation rates below market rate.

Grossman couldn’t give specific numbers on how far tax revenues might fall. He noted that Tippecanoe County is likely more impacted by the change than other places across the state because of its investment in apartment buildings.

“I feel like I’m raising the alarm that I’m going to tank the values,” he said. “...I feel like just given the magnitude of the assessment decreases, and especially on Purdue’s campus, I feel like it’s bad.”

According to Grossman, the new assessment model might ultimately be unconstitutional - forcing assessors to assess homes at market rate but taxing apartments well below market value.

“I think every single person in this room, in this county, who owns a home or a retail business or a restaurant or a hotel has a great grounds to basically sue the DLGF (Department of Local Government Finance)… and say I’m being assessed at my market value - I’m fine with that, that’s what the laws say - but there are many people in my community who aren’t,” he said.

School districts, county government, city government, fire and police departments could all be impacted by changes to tax assessments.

Grossman presented county officials at the meeting with three options: follow the law and take the hit on tax revenue, drop all county tax assessments to below market rate in the interest of fairness (Grossman called this the ‘burn it down’ option), or try and finagle assessments for apartments so they still come out as market rate knowing that move would likely face legal challenges.

“That’s why we called this meeting,” Grossman told the crowd of officials. “I don’t want to do any of them but I think I have to do one.”

Local officials are hopeful the change to Indiana law could be reversed.

Lafayette Mayor Tony Roswarski said local representatives will be meeting with the DLGF.

“We are hoping to work with the DLGF, to work with the state legislature, to reach a reasonable solution and correct a situation we think is really not fair,” he said.

Lawmakers representing Tippecanoe County are expected to meet with DLGF to discuss the issue next week.

When reached for comment the DLGF said that they “will continue to coordinate with assessment stakeholders to ensure a uniform statewide approach based on legislative changes.”

Assessed tax values for 2024 are due on March 1st.