TERRE HAUTE —
Hoosiers deserve a definition of “unduly harm” from Indiana Gov. Mike Pence.
The governor wants the state’s business personal property tax eliminated. He contends that it deters businesses from locating in Indiana. Apparently, some are choosing to set up shop instead in neighboring states that abandoned such taxes on equipment — even Illinois, which Pence’s secretary of commerce described last week as “one of the worst states in the country for doing business and getting worse.”
There are complications, though. The equipment tax generates $1 billion a year to fund cities, counties, schools and libraries. The governor has acknowledged the concerns of local officials, who have already trimmed staffs and public services after caps on property taxes, enacted in 2008, substantially reduced their revenue. The caps were written into the Indiana Constitution at the urging of former Gov. Mitch Daniels. If Pence’s desire to add the equipment tax to the extensive list of fiscal reforms, the most basic services in Hoosier communities may cease to be basic.
Pence has repeatedly reassured mayors and school district officials he does not want repeal of the tax to cause “undue harm” to local entities. Two bills in the current session of the General Assembly would phase out the equipment tax, rather than immediately eliminating it. But neither proposal — one in the House and another in the Senate — establishes replacement revenue for the $1 billion of local funding.
Mayors from six large cities, including Terre Haute’s Duke Bennett, met with Pence last week and tried to get him to explain how the revenue would be replaced. He did not, according to a story published Friday from CNHI statehouse reporter Maureen Hayden.
In a news conference Thursday, Pence said he is negotiating with legislators on the issue and doesn’t “want to negotiate this in public.”
The concerns of the mayors got some affirmation from a study conducted by the nonpartisan Indiana Fiscal Policy Institute. The research concluded that repeal of the equipment tax would have only a small effect on out-of-state businesses seeking to relocate. The report also found that the 2008 property-tax caps will reduce funding for police and fire protection, school buses and public services by $800 million next year. The losses from the elimination of the equipment tax would come on top of that.
The burden of replacing the revenue would fall on property owners, average Hoosiers.
The report verifies that tax cuts reduce business expenses, boost profits and can encourage relocations to Indiana and investments. But it adds, tax cuts “are most effective where the loss of tax revenue to governments does not reduce public services, especially on highways, police and fire protection, and perhaps education.”
The intention to ease undue burdens on businesses and corporations generally makes financial sense. That relief should not simply move the burden to homeowners, many of whom work at those businesses. Nor should that corporate and business tax relief deplete the already tenuous ability for local communities to maintain a basic quality of life for their residents — an undue harm.
The concept of repealing the business personal property tax should go to a summer study committee of the Legislature. The impact of rushing it into reality is unclear and troublesome. The governor and lawmakers need to slow down.
Depleting local funds a serious drawback
TERRE HAUTE —
Hoosiers deserve a definition of “unduly harm” from Indiana Gov. Mike Pence.
EDITORIAL: Get smart with 911
Worst-case scenarios when emergency service are needed are not things people like to think about. But focused attention on details in advance could make a life-changing, even life-saving, difference in the future.
FLASHPOINT: Heading in the wrong direction
A study released last week by the Tax Foundation reported Indiana taxpayers saw one of the sharpest increases in tax burden since 2001. Dig deeper and the numbers are more alarming.
RONN MOTT: They didn’t make it!
The “One and Dones” done went and didn’t! (I know this is grammatically incorrect, but I want those folks down in Kentucky to read it.)
EDITORIAL: Dealing with eroded trust
Our neighbors in Putnam County are understandably concerned, even outraged, over problems in their sheriff’s department. People have a right to expect their chief law-enforcement agency — one of the most important public institutions in any community — to operate professionally and effectively.
Readers’ Forum: April 17, 2014
• A blessing from our young folks
• Confidence in judge candidate
EDITORIAL: Preparing for voting changes
The primary election, during which Hoosiers will traipse to their polling places to select party candidates to fill the ballot for the general election, is now three weeks away.
Readers’ forum: April 16, 2014
• Mott’s rant on global warming
• Salvation through the Indian way
RONN MOTT: Royce Waltman
In recent days the papers have been full of good things about Royce Waltman. Not a lot of puffery, but more like Royce himself… straight, true and right at you.
LIZ CIANCONE: Not much peace since war to end all wars
My jaw dropped the other day when I read that this year, 2014, marks 100 years since the start of World War I. No, you wise guys, I wasn’t there personally.
Readers’ Forum: April 15, 2014
Sound choice for county judge
Giving your car the care it needs
Park restrooms should be open
EDITORIAL: Noteworthy in the news (Honors for outstanding women)
Honors for outstanding women
Sprucing up around the wetlands
You can say that again
Reader Poll results
Readers’ Forum: April 14, 2014
Alternatives to ‘injustice’
EDITORIAL: Teaming up to fight the ugliness of graffiti
Graffiti hurts the Terre Haute community. It deflates property values and local pride. It literally paints an image of carelessness on the city.
MARK BENNETT: It’s (Not) So Easy
Arctic air bled into the Wabash Avenue post-hippie-era diner-pub every time the wooden door swung open.
ERIC SCHANSBERG: The 1040 tax form turns 100
The 16th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution brought us the federal income tax in 1913. A year later, the 1040 tax form was born.
Readers’ Forum: April 13, 2014
• An attack of hypocrisy
• New jail not a good idea
• Thinking about the next election
• Being positive a tremendous asset
• Work status a matter of value
FLASHPOINT: Time to fix government
In 1965, the chairman of the powerful Ways and Means Committee, Wilbur Mills, brought legislation establishing Medicare and Medicaid to the floor of the U.S. House. That was my first year in Congress, and I remember vividly the moment when Mills came to the Democratic caucus to explain his plans.
Death Notice: April 13, 2014
GUEST EDITORIAL: Despite high court ruling, big money may not guarantee election success
The Supreme Court has taken the predictable next step in the wake of its 2010 Citizens United decision in which it lifted the limit on donations wealthy donors can make to certain political entities.
RONN MOTT: Pondering our planet’s future
I watched a TV show recently and the subject was global warming.
EDITORIAL: Warm thoughts for Waltman
When Royce Waltman left Indiana State University as its head basketball coach in 2007, there was a sense of disappointment in the community that covered a broad spectrum.
Readers' Forum: April 11, 2014
• An appeal for organic farming
• Kesler best choice for judge position
RONN MOTT: Bits & Pieces
I don’t know about you, but I get a total sense of helplessness when I realize 239 people died in one airplane crash. And to make it worse, if that is possible, the loved ones left behind can’t close. Maybe this week.
EDITORIAL: Road work season requires motorists’ undivided attention
Spring’s budding flowers, trees and grasses are not the only colorful eye candy popping up on the west-central Indiana landscape. Those orange barrels and pylons common to construction areas are appearing as well.
Readers' Forum: April 10, 2014
• Appreciation for writer’s views
• Amazed by policy on birth control
EDITORIAL: Dangers lurking among us
Hardly a week goes by without multiple stories being published in this newspaper detailing the arrests, court proceedings, convictions or sentencings of individuals involved in sex crimes against children or young teens. It’s a disturbing trend that underscores the ever-present dangers that exist where we may least expect them.
- Readers' Forum: April 9, 2014
RONN MOTT: Basketball and Done
I guess I’m going to have to change my mind about the “One and Done” rule. It would seem the future professionals wearing university uniforms — national runner-up Kentucky is an example — has proven me a fool. Why should I care about the education they are getting, or not getting?
LIZ CIANCONE: Angling for a mate not fond of fishing
While many little girls daydream about the dream man they hope to find, it seems to me that they concentrate on all the wrong things. I can’t discount the appeal of beauty, brains and virtue, but my dream man was one who was not dedicated to fishing.
Readers’ Forum: April 8, 2014
Tracking the trail of thieves
Friendly service at local store
New voice for judicial system
Movie strikes a proper balance
- More Opinion Headlines
- EDITORIAL: Get smart with 911