TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (AP) — Some local government officials remain worried
about changes Indiana lawmakers are considering to the state's property
tax on business equipment.
That tax now brings in about $1 billion a year for local governments and
schools. Legislators have scaled back Republican Gov. Mike Pence's
proposal to eliminate the tax, countering with plans to exempt small
businesses or give counties an option to waive the tax on new investments.
Terre Haute Mayor Duke Bennett, a Republican, said even those proposals
concerned him because they could leave local governments with less money
while many are still struggling five years after the enactment of
statewide property tax caps.
"I've not heard anything about replacement revenue," Bennett told the
The state Senate's tax committee this week approved a package of business
tax cuts that includes eliminating the equipment tax for small businesses.
Republicans in the House, meanwhile, are working on a proposal that would
let counties eliminate the tax on new equipment purchases.
Supporters of eliminating the tax say such a move would spur business
investment in the state.
Bill Waltz, a vice president the Indiana Chamber of Commerce, said the
group doesn't believe all the tax revenue lost from scaling back the
equipment tax needed to be replaced.
"This tax is actually more detrimental than others," he said.
Evansville Mayor Lloyd Winnecke, a Republican, is among the city leaders
who've testified before legislative committees against eliminating the
Winnecke said the city governments need the money to provide services and
amenities in order to attract business investment, the Evansville Courier
& Press reported.
"Communities who invest in their selves and residents are the ones who
will ultimately thrive," Winnecke said.
Some counties with numerous factories have high levels of property tax
revenue coming from the equipment tax, such as more than 40 percent in
southwestern Indiana's Gibson County and about 35 percent in central
Indiana's Howard County. Largely rural Brown County in southern Indiana,
however, has a level of about 3 percent.
Indiana Association of Cities and Towns will oppose both the House and
Senate proposals as long as replacement revenues aren't included, said
Matt Greller, the group's executive director
The association is not opposed to reducing the equipment tax, but "on the
flip side, we've got to keep local government whole," he said.