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Pence urges lawmakers to uphold tax bill veto

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Indiana Gov. Mike Pence asked lawmakers Monday to refrain from handing him his first veto override.

Pence sent a letter to legislators urging them to uphold his veto of a local tax measure. The measure retroactively approves taxes collected by Jackson and Pulaski counties to pay for new jails.

"It would approve, after the fact, the collection of taxes that were not owed. While there are valuable elements of this legislation, retroactive approval of taxes collected is not the best remedy, and for that reason I vetoed this legislation," Pence wrote.

Pence said the measure amounts to a tax increase. But House and Senate leaders have taken the side of local officials who say the measure corrects a mistake made more than six years ago.

Pence vetoed a trio of measures last month, but lawmakers are only scheduled to attempt a veto override on the local tax measure.

The General Assembly is scheduled to reconvene Wednesday to consider Pence's veto and technical corrections to some other measures. Lawmakers need only muster a simple majority in both the House and Senate to overturn a governor's veto.

Senate President Pro Tem David Long, R-Fort Wayne, and House Speaker Brian Bosma, R-Indianapolis, said Pence's letter did little to change their minds. The two control sizable supermajorities in their respective chambers.

Long said he appreciated the governor's "thoughtful input" on the legislation, but that he respectfully disagreed with his proposed course of action.

Bosma noted his support of local officials who originally came to state lawmakers seeking the fix in state law.

"Residents and elected officials in Jackson and Pulaski counties have asked for the Legislature's assistance to address the issues affecting thousands of Hoosiers in those counties, and to continue the allocation of pledged funds toward their designated obligations," Bosma said.

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