Pence Holds Tax Code Conference; Dem Leader Calls It “One-Sided”

Posted On June 25, 2014

By Mike Perleberg

Indiana Governor Mike Pence

Indiana Governor Mike Pence

(Indianapolis, Ind.) – Indiana’s tax code is considered to be one of the most complex in the country, but that may change if Governor Mike Pence has his way.

Pence invited more than 200 local and national tax professionals to the state Government Center in Indianapolis for an Indiana Tax Competitiveness and Simplification Conference on Tuesday.

“How can Indiana create the simplest, fairest, and most competitive tax structure in America? That should be our aim,” the Republican governor said.

The governor said Indiana’s individual income tax form has grown from two pages to 10 since 1993. The state’s tax instruction booklets have doubled in size from 28 pages to 60 today.

In recent years, Indiana lawmakers have eliminated the inheritance tax, lowered the individual income tax by five percent, and given counties the option to nix the personal property tax on business equipment in some cases. But, Pence says, simplifying the state tax code will make Indiana more attractive for investment and growth.

“We have taken many good steps together,” said Pence.  “Now we must make a giant leap – to simplify and streamline Indiana’s tax code so that it becomes the best in the country.”

The governor asked legislators to listen to the ideas discussed at the conference and consider others before drafting “a tax system for 2015 and beyond, not 1950 and before” during next year’s legislative session.

Democrats lawmakers attended Pence’s conference, but none were included on any panels, according to the Associated Press. House Minority Leader Scott Pelath (D-Michigan City) called the symposium “nothing more than a class club meeting of board room insiders, Wall Street apologists, and Nineteenth Century economic theorists.”

“God bless them, but governors do not typically convene public meetings in order to be told they’re all wrong. This one could have been a little less one-sided, though,” Pelath said in a statement. “Regular people have thoughts on taxes, too. Like the fact that Indiana workers and consumers keep paying a bigger share of the taxes, while the guys on the top floor are paying less.”

Pelath cited a Tax Foundation study that the the state and local tax burden on the average Indiana income rose by 1.1. percent and the state’s per capita income has declined by over $1,000 per year between 2001 and 2011.