INDIANAPOLIS (AP) —
Indiana lawmakers appear close to approving a package of business tax cuts
that represents only a fraction of what supporters sought at the beginning
of the session.
The House Ways and
Means Committee and the Senate Tax and Fiscal Policy advanced two separate
measures Tuesday that would cut the state's corporate income tax and the
state's business equipment tax in certain cases. But a few key differences
remain that will keep lawmakers negotiating to reach a compromise before
their 2014 session ends next month.
Neither plan will
come close to the complete elimination of Indiana's business personal
property tax that Republican Gov. Mike Pence originally sought when the 2014
session. But House and Senate lawmakers were able to agree on an alternative
measure that could save Indiana's heavy manufacturers millions of dollars.
include a so-called super abatement, which would allow county leaders to
exempt companies from the tax for up to 20 years. Counties can currently
exempt businesses from the tax for up to 10 years, and often do so as a
means to lure development.
"I think this
alternative is not only fiscally responsible but reflects the ability of
local government to affect local control," said Senate Tax and Fiscal Policy
Chairman Brandt Hershman, R-Buck Creek.
The Senate panel
voted 8-4 Tuesday to approve a plan that would cut the corporate income tax
from 6.5 percent to 4.9 percent by 2022. It would also allow counties to set
"super abatements" and eliminate the equipment tax for small businesses with
less than $20,000 worth of equipment.
The House panel
approved a similar measure, 11-5, but kept in the so-called local option,
which would allow counties to decide whether to eliminate the tax for new
businesses and new equipment purchases.
includes the "replacement revenue" local leaders have sought as a backfill
from the state to cover losses they would take as a result.
executive director of the Indiana Association of Cities and Towns, called
the altered proposals improvements, but said he would like to see more to
protect local leaders.
moving in the right direction in terms of where we started on the business
personal property tax and where we need to go" Greller said.
who are vastly outnumbered by Republicans, complained they were left out of
the discussion and ended up voting against the plan.
"I guess I'm
complaining because we weren't really a part of the discussion, and that
bothers me to some degree," said Sen. Tim Skinner, D-Terre Haute.