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Indiana lawmakers draw close on business tax deal

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Indiana lawmakers appear close to approving a package of business tax cuts that represents only a fraction of what supporters sought at the beginning of the session.

The House Ways and Means Committee and the Senate Tax and Fiscal Policy advanced two separate measures Tuesday that would cut the state's corporate income tax and the state's business equipment tax in certain cases. But a few key differences remain that will keep lawmakers negotiating to reach a compromise before their 2014 session ends next month.

Neither plan will come close to the complete elimination of Indiana's business personal property tax that Republican Gov. Mike Pence originally sought when the 2014 session began. But House and Senate lawmakers were able to agree on an alternative measure that could save Indiana's heavy manufacturers millions of dollars.

Both proposals include a so-called super abatement, which would allow county leaders to exempt companies from the tax for up to 20 years. Counties can currently exempt businesses from the tax for up to 10 years, and often do so as a means to lure development.

"I think this alternative is not only fiscally responsible but reflects the ability of local government to affect local control," said Senate Tax and Fiscal Policy Chairman Brandt Hershman, R-Buck Creek.

The Senate panel voted 8-4 Tuesday to approve a plan that would cut the corporate income tax from 6.5 percent to 4.9 percent by 2022. It would also allow counties to set "super abatements" and eliminate the equipment tax for small businesses with less than $20,000 worth of equipment.

The House panel approved a similar measure, 11-5, but kept in the so-called local option, which would allow counties to decide whether to eliminate the tax for new businesses and new equipment purchases.

Neither plan includes the "replacement revenue" local leaders have sought as a backfill from the state to cover losses they would take as a result.

Matthew Greller, executive director of the Indiana Association of Cities and Towns, called the altered proposals improvements, but said he would like to see more to protect local leaders.

"It's definitely moving in the right direction in terms of where we started on the business personal property tax and where we need to go" Greller said.

Senate Democrats, who are vastly outnumbered by Republicans, complained they were left out of the discussion and ended up voting against the plan.

"I guess I'm complaining because we weren't really a part of the discussion, and that bothers me to some degree," said Sen. Tim Skinner, D-Terre Haute.

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  • TAX THE POOR
    Way to go Indiana. Stop taxing the rich and shift the tax burden on the poor where it belongs. Why should the wealthy have to sacrifice when there are so many poor to milk in this state. After all, the poor do not have much to sacrifice anyway.

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  1. So much for Eric Holder's conversation about race. If white people have got something to say, they get sued over it. Bottom line: white people have un-freer speech than others as a consequence of the misnamed "Civil rights laws."

  2. I agree, having seen three shows, that I was less than wowed. Disappointing!!

  3. Start drilling, start fracking, and start using our own energy. Other states have enriched their citizens and nearly elminated unemployment by using these resources that are on private land. If you are against the 'low prices' of discount stores, the best way to allow shoppers more choice is to empower them with better earnings. NOT through manipulated gov mandated min wage hikes, but better jobs and higher competitive pay. This would be direct result of using our own energy resources, yet Obama knows that Americans who arent dependent of gov welfare are much less likely to vote Dem, so he looks for ways to ensure America's decline and keep its citizens dependent of gov.

  4. Say It Loud, I'm Black and Ashamed: It's too bad that with certain "black" entertainment events, it seems violence and thuggery follows and the collateral damage that it leaves behinds continues to be a strain on the city in terms of people getting hurt, killed or becoming victims of crimes and/or stretching city resources. I remember shopping in the Meadows area years ago until violence and crime ended make most of the business pack you and leave as did with Lafayette Square and Washington Square. Over the past 10 to 12 years, I remember going to the Indiana Black Expo Soul Picnic in Washington Park. Violence, gang fights and homicides ended that. My great grandmother still bears the scares on her leg from when she was trampled by a group of thugs running from gun fire from a rival gang. With hundreds of police offices downtown still multiple shootings, people getting shot downtown during Black Expo. A number of people getting shots or murdered at black clubs around the city like Club Six on the west side, The Industry downtown, Jamal Tinsley's shot out in front of the Conrad, multiple fights and shootings at the skating rinks, shootings at Circle Center Mall and shooting and robberies and car jackings at Lafayette Mall. Shootings and gang violence and the State Fair. I can go on and on and on. Now Broad Ripple. (Shaking head side to side) Say It Loud, I'm Black and I'm Ashamed.

  5. Ballard Administration. Too funny. This is the least fiscally responsive administration I have ever seen. One thing this article failed to mention, is that the Hoosier State line delivers rail cars to the Amtrak Beech Grove maintenance facility for refurbishment. That's an economic development issue. And the jobs there are high-paying. That alone is worth the City's investment.

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