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GOP House blocks Dems' push for Pence tax-cut vote

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House Republicans blocked a vote Thursday on Gov. Mike Pence's proposed tax cut, fending off — at least for now — an attempt by Democrats to force them into the awkward position of rejecting one of the new GOP governor's top legislative priorities amid questions about the cost.

Republicans voted along party lines to keep House Democrats from forcing a vote on the tax cut, citing a procedural rule. The parliamentary politicking came as lawmakers advanced a $30 billion biennial budget that swaps the cut for more spending on schools and roads.

House Minority Leader Scott Pelath, D-Michigan City, said Pence deserves an up-or-down vote on his top priority. But Rep. Jerry Torr, R-Carmel, argued that any vote should wait until after lawmakers see an updated estimate this April of how much the state will rake in tax collections.

Pelath made a series of backhanded compliments for Pence as he argued for a vote on the tax cut.

"Our governor was elected for one reason, he supported a 10-percent reduction in Indiana's income tax," Pelath said. "It's one of the best ideas that's been expressed from the second floor."

Rep. Terry Goodin, D-Crothersville, sought to amend the budget to include Pence's tax cut. But Torr relied on a procedural maneuver dubbed "bill pending" which allows lawmakers to block any amendment if the same language is in a bill already filed in a House committee.

House Ways and Means Chairman Tim Brown, R-Crawfordsville, submitted the Pence tax cut last month, but never brought it up for consideration in his committee.

Republican leaders in the General Assembly have said they want to see how much money the state will collect in the coming years before signing off on the $500 million tax cut.

"You may very well get a chance to vote on that tax cut the governor has proposed in April, after the April revenue forecast," Torr told Pelath.

The House also rejected Democrats' efforts Thursday to reshape the budget to spend more on schools and offer a progressive tax cut or textbook tax credit to school parents.

Republicans hold a supermajority in the chamber of 69-31.

The House budget still includes much of what Democrats have been seeking, after years of cuts by former Gov. Mitch Daniels. It adds another $200 million more for education than Pence sought and spends $250 million on roads.

House Republican leaders have insisted over the last few weeks that they have not ruled out approving the Pence tax cut, but the budget they drafted makes that cut highly unlikely. Pence has said that he is "disappointed" in the House budget, but acknowledged it's still relatively early in the session, which runs through April 29.

The issue will shift to Senate after House lawmakers take a final vote on the budget next week.

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  1. If what you stated is true, then this article is entirely inaccurate. "State sells bonds" is same as "State borrows money". Supposedly the company will "pay for them". But since we are paying the company, we are still paying for this road with borrowed money, even though the state has $2 billion in the bank.

  2. Andrew hit the nail on the head. AMTRAK provides terrible service and that is why the state has found a contractor to improve the service. More trips, on-time performance, better times, cleanliness and adequate or better restrooms. WI-FI and food service will also be provided. Transit from outlying areas will also be provided. I wouldn't take it the way it is but with the above services and marketing of the service,ridership will improve and more folks will explore Indy and may even want to move here.

  3. They could take the property using eminent domain and save money by not paying the church or building a soccer field and a new driveway. Ctrwd has monthly meetings open to all customers of the district. The meetings are listed and if the customers really cared that much they would show. Ctrwd works hard in every way they can to make sure the customer is put first. Overflows damage the surrounding environment and cost a lot of money every year. There have been many upgrades done through the years to help not send flow to Carmel. Even with the upgrades ctrwd cannot always keep up. I understand how a storage tank could be an eye sore, but has anyone thought to look at other lift stations or storage tanks. Most lift stations are right in the middle of neighborhoods. Some close to schools and soccer fields, and some right in back yards, or at least next to a back yard. We all have to work together to come up with a proper solution. The proposed solution by ctrwd is the best one offered so far.

  4. Fox has comments from several people that seem to have some inside information. I would refer to their website. Changed my whole opionion of this story.

  5. This place is great! I'm piggy backing and saying the Cobb salad is great. But the ribs are awesome. $6.49 for ribs and 2 sides?! They're delicious. If you work downtown, head over there.

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