News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Breaking News

Local & Bistate

March 23, 2014

MAUREEN HAYDEN: Tax cut divides mayor, governor

After property tax caps, further revenue decline weighs heavily on towns

INDIANAPOLIS — In his years as a party activist, Rushville Mayor Mike Pavey raised money and votes for fellow Republican Mike Pence, a former U.S. congressman who now occupies the governor’s office.

Beyond sharing Pence’s pro-business, small-government ideology, the engineer-turned-mayor has long felt a special kinship with the man. It was in the small city of Rushville where Pence, having flamed out in a second run for Congress, launched his conservative talk radio show 22 years ago.

The talk show was soon syndicated statewide, and it revived the man who’d been left for dead politically. Pence won on his third try for Congress, and he was re-elected five times. Rushville and the surrounding Rush County went for Pence in his narrow 2012 gubernatorial victory; he won by 10 points more there than he did statewide.

Despite their history, Pavey has spent the last three months working against Pence – specifically the governor’s top legislative priority for the 2014 session.

Along with Republican and Democratic mayors statewide, Pavey has pushed back hard against Pence’s proposal to eliminate a business tax that generates about $1 billion a year for schools, libraries and local governments.

Pence and his GOP legislative allies have said eliminating the tax – levied on machinery, equipment and other property – is a sure-fire job creator. But they’ve not come up with a plan to replace the lost revenue if that doesn’t come true.

Pavey, knowing a full repeal of the tax could mean about $1 million per year in lost revenue for Rushville, is worried. The property tax caps of 2008 reduced city revenue by more than 38 percent, causing serious cuts. Pavey had this description of the Pence plan for the business tax: “It felt like a professional hit. And it felt like a personal one, too.”

Pavey left his Rushville office several times during the session to lobby lawmakers to vote against two different tax rollback bills.

And he helped mobilize Rush County Republicans who control city and county government. The County Commissioners, County Council and City Common Council teamed up with the school board and local Chamber of Commerce to pass a joint resolution – mirroring those passed by Republicans across the state – that opposes any legislation to reduce or eliminate the business tax.

Common Councilman  Bob Bridges and County Commissioner Bruce Levi, both Republicans, called Pence’s proposal “devastating” for the community and its schools.

You’d think all those Rush County Republicans would have taken comfort in Pence’s oft-repeated words that he and the super-majority Republicans in the Legislature would protect communities from being “unduly harmed.” But his failure to define “undue harm,” along with the absence of a plan to replace revenue, spoke louder than his words.

In the end, Pence’s big plan fell short. The legislation that came out of the General Assembly in its waning hours is just a partial rollback. It gives counties the authority to begin reducing the tax in July 2015 and sets up a “blue ribbon” commission to study the tax and its impact.

But Pavey and his peers remain both vigilant and convinced of the eventual end of the business personal property tax – with no replacement dollars from the state.

And that pains the mayor.

“I like the governor personally,” Pavey said. “It’s a very uncomfortable position to be put in, to have to say to him, ‘Slow down before you hurt this community.’ ”

Maureen Hayden covers the Statehouse for CNHI, the Tribune-Star’s parent company. She can be reached at maureen. hayden@indianamediagroup.com. Follow her on Twitter @MaureenHayden.

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local & Bistate
Latest News
TribStar.com Poll
AP Video
Clinton Before 9-11: Could Have Killed Bin Laden Gaza Truce Unravels; Israel, Hamas Trade Blame Renewed Violence Taking Toll on Gaza Residents Couple Channel Grief Into Soldiers' Retreat WWI Aviation Still Alive at Aerodrome in NY Raw: Tunisia Closes Borders With Libya Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow Netanyahu Vows to Destroy Hamas Tunnels Raw: Woman Who Faced Death Over Faith in N.H. House Leaders Trade Blame for Inaction 2 Americans Detained in North Korea Seek Help Obama Slams Republicans Over Lawsuit Four Rescued From Crashed Plane Raw: Rescuers at Taiwan Explosion Scene Ravens' Ray Rice: 'I Made a Huge Mistake' House GOP Optimistic About New Border Bill US Employers Add 209K Jobs, Rate 6.2 Pct Raw: Obama Gets Hug From Special Olympian Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle Today in History for August 1st
NDN Video
Under Armour Launches Biggest Women's Campaign with Inspiring Ad NYPD chokehold death of Eric Garner was homicide: medical examiner Christina Aguilera Pulls a Demi Moore! Man with no arms throws first pitch Chapter Two: Composing for a film in retirement Is Justin Bieber Dating a Model? Guardians of the Galaxy (Trailer) 'Sharknado 2:' Hottest Memes Surfing The Net Snoop Dogg Narrating Animal Footage Is Perfect Raw: Obama Gets Hug From Special Olympian Recapping a Blockbuster MLB Trade Deadline Tigers Acquire David Price - @TheBuzzeronFOX Russell Brand Slams Sean Hannity Over Gaza Conflict Segment Woman's Dive Goes Terribly Wrong Brian Williams Reports on Daughter Allison Williams' 'Peter Pan' Casting News Did Jimmy Fallon Look Up Heidi Klum's Dress? What Drama? Miranda Kerr Poses Topless Plane crashes in San Diego Costco parking lot Justin Bieber Takes To Instagram To Diss Orlando Bloom You Won't Believe the Celeb Cameos in "Sharknado 2"
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
  • -

     

    March 12, 2010

activity