- Obama takes aim at ‘corporate deserters’
- Dick’s Sporting Goods lays off 478 PGA golf pros
- Senators: Cease-fire must allow Israel to defend against rockets, tunnels
- Sierra Leone doctor fighting Ebola catches disease
- Iraq welcomes Russian fighter jets, helicopter gunships into ISIL fight
- John McCain laments: Obama’s ‘self-pity … is really kind of sad’
- GOP offer to fix VA gives $10 billion in emergency funds
- Paul Ryan offers to repair U.S. economic safety net with a single grant stream
- Kim Jong-un builds bond with Putin: $250M Russia-backed addition to key port opens
- Pope Francis meets Meriam Ibrahim, a Sudanese woman sentenced to death
Pence backs alternative business tax cut
Question of the Day
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - Gov. Mike Pence threw his support behind House Republicans‘ watered-down business tax proposal Tuesday amid outcry from local leaders over the potential to damage their already cash-strapped budgets.
Pence originally sought the elimination of the state’s business personal property tax, which is levied on business equipment, when he announced his 2014 legislative agenda last month. But Chris Atkins, director of the Office of Management and Budget, told members of the House Ways and Means Committee that the governor would back an alternative measure crafted by House Republican leaders.
“I’m here with you to share the governor’s support for House Bill 1001,” Atkins said. “He believes that while we made substantial progress on our tax climate in recent years, the business personal property tax remains an outlier that we need to deal with if we’re truly going to attract jobs and investment moving forward.”
The announcement marks one of the first clear signs of what the governor is seeking on an issue that’s been at the center of his legislative agenda.
Pence wrote in his 2014 policy “roadmap” that he wanted to “eliminate the business personal property tax to spur new investment.” But as opposition among local leaders grew, Pence began saying he would support a “phase-out” matched with undefined aid for localities.
Absent a proposal from Pence, Republican legislative leaders crafted their own proposals. House Speaker Brian Bosma, R-Indianapolis, announced the chamber’s plan would give counties the option to eliminate the tax on all new business equipment.
Senate Republican leaders, including the chairs of the tax and budget committees, submitted their own plan that would eliminate the personal property tax for small businesses and cut the corporate income tax. Atkins made no mention of the Senate plan on Tuesday.
The House bill’s author, Rep. Eric Turner, R-Cicero, called the business tax one of the worst for the economy because it stalls the type of business growth and expansion lawmakers should encourage.
“The problem with the business personal property tax is it taxes capital investment,” he said.
Chad Pittman, executive vice president for the semi-private Indiana Economic Development Corporation, said the state is at a disadvantage when competing for jobs with neighboring states such as Illinois, which have eliminated the tax.
But the complete elimination of the tax, which is used to fill local coffers, came with a $1 billion price tag and no clear way to cover the budget holes it would create at the local level.
A parade of Indiana mayors told the panel those states found ways to refund localities the money lost without the tax. Evansville Mayor Lloyd Winnecke, a Republican, noted that a referendum being placed before Michigan voters also provides for replacement funding from the state.
“We hear that surrounding states have eliminated the business personal property tax, but let’s not leave out this one important piece of the question,” he said.
TWT Video Picks
By Michael Widlanski
Leveling the battlefield to aid terrorists enables evil to fight on
- 'We're coming for you, Barack Obama': Top U.S. official discloses threat from ISIL terrorists
- Obama orders Pentagon advisers to Ukraine
- NAPOLITANO: What if our democracy is a fraud?
- Hamas rejects Kerry's call for cease-fire; Fears grow others could join fight against Israel
- Norway expects imminent 'concrete threat' from ISIL terrorists 'within days'
- State Department indicates Nouri al-Maliki's days numbered as Iraq prime minister
- Evidence shows Russia firing artillery into Ukraine: Pentagon
- Algerian plane diverted due to storms, second aircraft: 116 missing
- Russia sends Iraq fighter jets, helicopter gunships for ISIL fight after meeting in Moscow
- Tom Petty: 'No one's got Christ more wrong than the Christians'
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world
Fighting in Iraq