INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – If you have an unpaid tax bill from the state of Indiana, Mike Pence wants to make a deal with you.
The governor will conduct a tax amnesty program this fall and more than a quarter of a million Hoosiers are eligible to take part.
They owe $500 million in back taxes.
Yet this is the second tax amnesty conducted by the state of Indiana and that’s a source of some controversy.
First, the details: if you owe state government back taxes for years prior to 2013 you can pay up this fall without consequence. From mid-September to mid-November there will be no questions asked at the Department of Revenue.
“No penalty, no interest is a really good deal,” said Bob Dittmer, Revenue Department spokesman, “but it’s a one-time good deal.”
Former governor Mitch Daniels raised $244 million with a tax amnesty that produced long lines in the state government center 10 years ago.
“They gave me a chance to get caught up and I was more than happy to do it,” said one taxpayer at the time.
“And I’m taking advantage of it and think it’s a real good program,” said another.
Then, Democrats called the plan a “cheater’s bill of rights.”
Now, Democrats are no happier with the plan created by GOP super majorities in the General Assembly.
“10 years ago it was one time,” said Rep. Greg Porter (D-Indianapolis.) “Here we are back again, trying to do it again.”
“How many amnesties are we going to continue to give people?” he asked.
Yet if you took advantage of amnesty in 2005 you are not eligible this time and those who are can expect a letter from the state sometime soon.
“We know pretty much everyone who is eligible,” said Dittmer, “because we know who has outstanding liabilities during that period so we’re going to do a lot of direct outreach to those folks.”
The Department of Revenue hopes to raise $90 million this time around.
That money would go to fund the governor’s Regional Cities Initiative, a new economic development fund.
The idea of a second tax amnesty came up after lawmakers cut the Regional Cities plan out of the state budget and spent the money on education instead.