Gov. Mike Pence made a big move Tuesday to address criticism of his plan to cut the business equipment tax. He is now open to replacing lost local tax money with state funds.
The change in position came after the governor endured bi-partisan attacks from Indiana mayors.
Gathered at a hotel across the street from the Statehouse the mayors, who worry that they will pay for the governor’s tax plan, sounded the alarm. that they will pay for the governor’s tax plan, sounded the alarm.
“I have never seen members of the Indiana Association of Cities and Towns so united as we are now,” said Angola Mayor Dick Hickman, “in trying to defend our communities against these pieces of legislation.”
It’s all about a billion dollar tax on business equipment that the governor would like eliminated. The money goes to schools and local governments.
“Businesses won’t move here if there are no parks,” said Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard, “if schools are third rate.”
“This tax would leave us so much in the hole,” said South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, “that we could get rid of parks completely and still have to find a million dollars worth of police and fire cuts. We just can’t do it.”
Last week the governor promised that local governments would not be “unduly harmed” but wouldn’t elaborate saying, “I don’t want to negotiate this in public.”
He invited big city mayors to his Statehouse office Tuesday afternoon and after more than an hour behind the closed doors the mayors emerged with what they consider to be good news.
The governor told them he’s open to state replacement funding for one of the proposals to reduce the business equipment tax.
Did the news conference make a difference?
“I think it was a culmination,” said Evansville Mayor Lloyd Winnecke, “of weeks and weeks of consistent communication from all parts of the state.”