INDIANAPOLIS – A proposal authored by State Senator Eddie Melton (D-Gary) passed its last hurdle in the Senate on Monday.

Senate Bill (SB) 523 would help Hoosiers by allowing counties to establish a property tax amnesty program. This program would give taxpayers the opportunity to pay back late taxes without the added burden of high interest rates and penalty fees. In 2012 the amnesty program was successfully implemented by the Indiana General Assembly and John Petalas, Lake County’s Treasurer at the time, administered the property tax amnesty in Lake County. This relieved as many as 8,000 property owners in that county from the interest and penalty fees they had accumulated. In addition, it helped to secure as much as $180 million in taxes that were owed to the county effectively making room for economic growth and development.

“The amnesty program would give Hoosier taxpayers a small break to help them get back on track and in good standing with their property taxes,” Sen. Melton said. “This would be life changing for many people in our state.”

“In Indiana there is $346,769,988 in delinquent property taxes and $175,459,543 accumulated in penalties and interest. Waiving these interests and penalties would address the blight that these vacant lots have on our neighborhoods and make it obtainable for Hoosiers to repay these taxes.”

SB 523 was approved unanimously in the Senate and now moves to the House of Representatives for further deliberation.