Mayors, Pence Talk About Cut In Business Tax

Posted On February 12, 2014

By Mike Perleberg

Indiana Governor Mike Pence

Indiana Governor Mike Pence

(Indianapolis, Ind.) – Indiana Governor Mike Pence says he is “open to” the idea of giving state money back to towns and cities if lawmakers go through with a proposed cut in the state’s tax on business equipment.

Pence has made cutting the tax a priority this year.

“I have the ongoing belief that tax reform will encourage an environment in Indiana that will increase investment and increase good-paying jobs,” Pence said Tuesday following a meeting with city mayors from across the state.

Those mayors shared their concerns about losing the tax revenue that the personal property tax on business equipment provides their municipalities. Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard wondered if such a cut is in the public interest.

“I support efforts to make our state even more competitive and business attractive, but not at the cost of local services and quality of life of the cities,” Ballard said.

Evansville Mayor Lloyd Winnecke echoed those sentiments. He said getting rid of the business personal property tax would be detrimental to cities, towns, and counties.

“We all get the fact that businesses like everyone else want to pay less taxes, but at the end of the day there has to be value and we have to have a vibrant city,” said Winnecke.

State lawmakers are currently considering two proposals for reducing the personal property tax on business. Senate Bill 1 has already passed the Senate and is now on the agenda of the House Ways and Means Committee. It proposes eliminating the tax on small businesses with less than $25,000 in equipment.

The House’s version of the tax reform proposal, House Bill 1001, would allow counties the decision on whether to end the tax. It currently resides in the Senate Tax and Fiscal Policy Committee

In a statement, Pence said he’s informed legislative leaders that he is open to full state replacement of the revenue for local governments.

“This would ensure that any reform of this tax does not unduly burden local governments or shift the cost of this tax onto hardworking Hoosiers,” the governor said.

“This reform, along with affording counties the option of ending the tax on new equipment as proposed in House Bill 1001, would make our communities and our state more attractive for the kind of investment that will create jobs for Hoosiers. In the end, Hoosiers and our local communities will benefit as business grow and companies bring new jobs to our state,” said Pence, adding he will continue to work with both the House and Senate.