House Speaker, Governor at odds over tax hikes

Indiana Statehouse
(WISH Photo/Ron Nakasone)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The effort to pass a pair of tax increases has led to a standoff in the General Assembly.

One of the Governor Mike Pence’s top priorities is being held up in the process.

This battle is Republican versus Republican. House Repubilcans want increases in the gas tax and the cigarette tax.

The governor wants more money for economic development in a plan he calls Regional Cities.

The governor panned the House Republican road plan in his State of the State Address when he pledged to oppose any tax increase. It’s now stalled in the state Senate.

But the governor’s Regional Cities plan is now stalled in the House and House Speaker Brian Bosma made it clear Thursday that the fate of the two proposals is connected.

“It would make some sense for those items to proceed together,” he said. “The Regional Cities has a similar impact for 3 communities and our roads bill, our roads and transportation bill, of course has a strong impact for every community in the state. So, something like that might convince some of our folks to come on board.”

Minority Leader Scott Pelath suggested that the governor will let his plan die before he supports a tax hike of any kind.

“You know he’s running for re-election,” he said, “and whether it’s a cigarette tax or not it sounds to me like he doesn’t want that on his resume.”

It’s a standoff that must be settled in the next three weeks. Bosma announced that lawmakers will complete their work for the year on March 10th and go home four days early.

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