Chesterton Tribune



Duneland School Board rips Pence business tax cut plan

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The Duneland School Board unanimously passed a resolution against Governor Mike Pence’s proposal to eliminate business personal property taxes in Indiana.

Duneland Schools Superintendent David Pruis presented the resolution to the board Wednesday.

Pruis said that according to the Porter County Auditor’s Certificate of Net Assessed Valuations for 2013 pay 2014, Duneland Schools would see a loss of $599.2 million from its total net assessed valuation of roughly $2.4 billion, or 25.1 percent.

The resolution said a study by the Legislative Services Agency estimated $963 million in business personal property taxes were paid out in 2012 statewide and approximately $510 million in revenue would be lost for local units of government if the tax were eliminated.

The study estimated that an additional $453 million would be paid by Hoosier property owners through increased taxes.

Pruis did not say how much the impact on Duneland taxpayers would be, but said that tax bills would shift upward.

“If you take away 25.1 percent, tax rates will rise,” said Pruis.

The measure will push taxes higher than what the tax caps will allow, leaving a permanent revenue loss for local units of government, the resolution says.

Pruis said the tax elimination will result in an annual loss of over $1.4 million to the school corporation’s referendum fund. The fund this year generated over $5 million.

The resolution called Pence’s plan “unsound public policy” because it would cut revenue that county governments, townships, public schools, fire departments, airports and libraries need to provide services.

All five board members agreed to resolution and will urge state officials Reps. Charles Moseley, D-Portage, Scott Pelath, D-Michigan City, Ed Soliday, R-Valparaiso, and Sen. Karen Tallian, D-Ogden Dunes, to vote against any proposal that would eliminate the business personal property tax without “complete replacement revenue to all units of local government.”

Ralph Ayres, who is a former state representative, told his colleagues that they should be aware that the Indiana Assembly will move quickly this year and “things are going to change by the minute.”

Earlier on Wednesday, it was reported that Statehouse Republi-cans are considering only applying the tax cut to new businesses and equipment. Another alernative would give counties the choice to eliminate or keep the tax on a local basis.

“It may be a lot different what happens down there from point A to point B on March 14,” Ayres said.



Posted 1/9/2014