State Representative Chuck Moseley, D-Portage, said he is counting the
number of winners and losers in Gov. Mike Pence’s proposal to do away with
taxes assessed on personal property and equipment for businesses, and right
now the scales are far from balanced.
Moseley visited the Chesterton Tribune last week to discuss his
expectations for the upcoming Indiana General Assembly. He said he is
calling on citizens to ask themselves how the tax reform will impact them if
the state, schools and local governments fail to find alternative funding
Pence rolled out his 2014 road map earlier this month highlighting the
elimination of business personal property tax as a way to increase private
sector employment the same way some other states do in order to compete for
jobs. But the tax is collected by counties, not the state, and benefits
county governments, townships, local schools, fire departments, airports and
“What is the tradeoff going to be here? We need to make sure that those
services can be provided,” said Moseley.
According to recent estimates by the County Treasurer’s office, Porter
County would lose $25 million or more of its tax revenue, with schools
taking the biggest hit.
At a recent Duneland School Board meeting, officials said that the school
district’s total assessed valuation could drop by about 25 percent and more
than $1 million would be lost in the schools’ referendum fund.
Porter County government could expect about a $5 million drop.
Overall, the tax cut would be a $1 billion hit to all local governments and
Moseley is not saying the sky is falling, as the final details for the plan
have not been revealed, but the changes are something local officials and
residents should keep their eyes on, he said.
Moseley said he is most concerned about what the impact will be on
taxpayers. He looks at this not as a tax cut but as a shift of the tax
burden to workers who will have to make up for the loss of revenue.
Moseley said that residential homeowners will be pushed toward the 1 percent
tax cap as their tax rates go up and the same will come later for retail and
agriculture properties capped at 2 percent and commercial and small business
at 3 percent.
Pence has suggested that the business tax be phased out over a few years and
encouraged legislators in the General Assembly to debate the issue to find a
way that does not harm local governments.
Moseley said he and his colleagues in the Statehouse have yet to see any
details on how the phase out could be done without putting the burden on
county and municipal governments, which is why he hasn’t decided yet whether
or not he’d support it.
Moseley said the governor has alluded to the idea that the counties have the
option to decide to initiate or raise income taxes to make up for the
Moseley said he is not in favor of any measure that would discourage
consumers from spending money in their communities, which would end up
hurting small businesses.
“You’re going to have to buy a lot less hamburgers. You’re going to run your
tires a little bit longer,” he said. “We need to be more mindful. It’s time
to stop shifting the burden onto the backs of hard working citizens.”
There is also talk about letting individual counties have the decision of
whether or not to eliminate the business personal property tax, but Moseley
said in his eyes that would be creating “a backdoor tax abatement” and he
doesn’t like the idea of counties competing against each other.
The only winners he sees in the deal are the large scale manufacturing
centers and other facilities that house millions of dollars of personal
property and equipment, like hospitals, with nothing for the small business
“We need to start asking is this a good or a bad deal. What I want is for
people to start thinking about what could happen, because these concerns are
not far-fetched. I’m a little hesitant to buy into something without solid
commitment. We need to see a detailed plan from the governor,” he said.
Assembly begins Jan. 6
Moseley will continue to serve on the Employment, Labor and Pensions
committee in the General Assembly which will begin on Monday, Jan. 6. His
role there takes up most of his time as a representative, he said. He will
also continue to serve on the Veteran Affairs and Public Safety committee.
Moseley said he is drafting a number of bills. One would be to restore
funding to the Department of Workforce Development for worker training
programs. Another would be for County Treasurers to have more opportunity to
invest County assets for longer periods of time and have better interest
rates, similar to Major Moves money.
He said he will also be working with legislators across the aisle on
legislation regarding the Indiana Public Retirement System. Moseley said he
is against the plan of the INPRS to privatize annuity payments for retired
government employees. Taking away the state-managed annuity would result in
officials having no control over changes to fees or interest, he said.
The Assembly this year has “serious” issues before it that legislators
should concentrate on, particularly those related to growing Indiana’s
economy, Moseley said. He advised there will be pressure from lobbying
groups to talk about social issues and said millions of dollars are being
poured into the gay marriage debate.
Moseley said finding jobs for Hoosiers is a larger priority for him than to
say who can get married.