Pence won’t detail tax reform plan

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The governor’s plan to eliminate a tax on business equipment is the subject of a new report.  It calls the plan a “tall order,” and questions the benefit.  Meanwhile, the governor said that he won’t negotiate in public.

Indiana’s tax on equipment, known as the business personal property tax, is the highest in the Midwest and GOP Governor Mike Pence says it gets in the way when he tries to convince companies to do business here.

“This is just a bad tax in a state where you make things, OK,” he said.  “I can’t put a finer point on it than that.”

In a meeting with Statehouse reporters, the governor refused to say where he’s looking for replacement money in order to eliminate the billion dollar tax.

The money goes to local governments and mayors that are united in opposition to higher local taxes on either income or property.

“We’re concerned about no replacement revenue,” said Matt Greller of the Indiana Association of Cities and Towns.  “There has to be replacement revenue for any elimination of the business personal property tax.”

“It’s going to be a difficult task to get anything done,” says John Ketzenberger of the Indiana Fiscal Policy Institute.

In a new report the think tank helps narrow down the governor’s choices.

When asked if the only real option is for the state to replace the money, Ketzenberger said, “That’s probably the most likely scenario.”

The governor is listening.

“Any reform of the business personal property tax can’t shift the business tax to hardworking Hoosiers,” said Pence, “and it cannot result in unduly burdening local governments and I’m confident that we’ll achieve that.”

How, he just won’t say.

But the state can’t afford a new billion dollar payment, either.  That could lead to tax hikes and the governor just won approval for a tax cut last year.

State lawmakers resume the search for a solution that works with a public hearing on Monday. Tune in for more on that on WISH-TV at 5 and 6.

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