Indiana House backs abolishing all township assessor offices

The Indiana House has voted to eliminate the last remaining township assessor offices around the state.

House members voted 53-44 Tuesday in favor of the bill abolishing the 13 township assessor offices that remain in nine of Indiana’s 92 counties. The bill would transfer to county assessor offices those duties for determining the value of buildings and land for property taxes.

The 13 township assessor offices remain after voters decided to retain them in 2008 referendums allowed under a law that abolished more than 950 such offices across the state. The bill would eliminate the offices at the end of 2022.

Bill sponsor Republican Rep. Karen Engleman of Georgetown said state reports have found that county offices have been more cost effective and fair in property assessments.

Rep. Tim Wesco, R-Osceola, was among bill opponents who argued that the Legislature should respect the decision that voters made in the 2008 referendums. House Democratic leader Phil GiaQuinta of Fort Wayne questioned the purpose of lawmakers allowing a voter referendum and then later deciding to overturn it.

Lake County has five of the township assessor offices that would be abolished, with one each in Allen, Elkhart, Howard, LaPorte, Porter, St. Joseph, Vigo and Wayne counties.

The bill now goes to the state Senate for consideration.

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