Senate approves bill to reduce taxes on employers
The Indiana Senate approved legislation authored by State Sen. Luke Kenley, R-Noblesville, to boost Hoosier job and economic growth on Jan. 30. The bill, which would reduce the state’s corporate income tax and business personal property tax, passed by a 35-11 vote.
The legislation includes the following provisions:
• Reduces Indiana’s corporate income tax rate to 4.9 percent by July 1, 2019. Once fully implemented, this would put $132 million back into the private sector economy annually.
• Exempts small businesses from personal property tax liability if they have less than $25,000 of personal property in a county. This change is projected to exempt up to 68 percent of business personal property tax filers.
• Revises and eliminates certain tax credits to help finance these tax cuts.
• Create an 11-member Blue Ribbon Commission to study the effect of the business personal property tax on Indiana’s economic competitiveness. This commission would include representatives from state and local government and the business community.
SB 1 will now be considered in the House.
Gov. Pence sends letter to mayors regarding business personal property tax reform
Gov. Mike Pence sent a letter to mayors across Indiana on improving the economic well-being of Hoosiers by eliminating the business personal property tax. The letter continues the Governor’s efforts to speak with Indiana’s mayors about his ideas and create an open dialogue on how those ideas impact their communities.
The Governor also reiterated his commitment to ensuring the phase out of the tax does not unduly burden local governments and that he welcomes their ideas and insights on the matter.
“When I proposed phasing out the business personal property tax, I said there were many ways in which this could be accomplished, and I have reiterated that I’m talking about tax reform, not tax cuts,” he said. “First, as we work toward phasing out the business personal property tax, I have committed to doing so in a way that does not unduly burden local governments’ ability to provide for the needs of their citizens. Second, I have advocated for local control and decision-making for adoption of any permanent phase out of the business personal property tax. Third, I have said that we cannot phase out this tax in a way shifts the tax burden to hard-working Hoosiers.
“We have many different needs and varying advantages and disadvantages in the communities of our Hoosier state. For some, removing the business personal property tax might be not be a priority. For others, removing the business personal property tax might be the breath of change that gives new life to economic development efforts…I welcome your thoughts and suggestions as to how we can accomplish this need.”
Gay marriage ban passes House
House Joint Resolution 3, commonly known as the gay marriage ban, easily cleared the House of Representatives on Jan. 25, passing 57-40. The measure would place a referendum before Hoosier voters that, if passed in a general election, could add language to the state constitution defining marriage as existing only between a man and a woman.
Indiana law currently forbids gay marriage, but by adding the language to the state constitution, the measure could not be overturned by a court ruling.
However, there was significant dissent on the issue from area Republicans. State Representatives Steve Braun and Jerry Torr, who represent Carmel, and Todd Huston, who represents Fishers, voted ‘No’ on the resolution.
Representatives Brian Bosma of Indianapolis and Kathy Kreag Richardson voted ‘Yes.’
Rep. Braun leads major workforce development bill
At the start of the 2014 session, Speaker Brian Bosma, R-Indianapolis, joined State Rep. Steve Braun, R-Zionsville, to unveil the Working on Progress legislative agenda, focusing on priorities like education and workforce development. Rep. Braun authored House Bill HB 1003 which addresses the Hoosier workforce and the skills gap.
The bill passed out of the House with a vote of 89-6.
“Our state has received national recognition as a leader in job creation and business-friendly policies,” said Rep. Braun. “However, too many jobs are going unfilled because Hoosiers don’t have the specific skill sets to fill the void in booming industries in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Economic experts and site selectors agree that the quality of the workforce is a top factor that determines where a business will locate or expand, and this legislation will help create more opportunities for students and employers.”
HB 1003 will allow the Indiana Economic Development Corporation to utilize the Training 2020 Fund to allow grants to schools that choose to develop and implement partnerships with businesses.
Schools, in conjunction with private sector businesses, will offer internships and apprenticeships to put students to the test in real-world experiences. The IEDC will work with the Indiana Works Councils to develop the application and eligibility requirements for these grants.
In addition, the IEDC will be able to award an Economic Development for a Growing Economy tax credit to businesses that hire students who have gone through this cooperative program between the business and college/university.
House Bill 1003 is being considered by the Senate.
Bill would neuter gun buy-back programs
State Sen. Jim Tomes, R-Wadesville. Has authored a bill that would eliminate city policies in which firearms seized by law enforcement are destroyed. The bill passed the Senate by a 28-21 vote.
Senate Bill 229 would direct local law enforcement agencies to auction off seized firearms to people lawfully allowed to own them, with the proceeds going directly back to the agencies. It would also discontinue the practice of firearm buyback programs, where firearms are purchased by the agency and then sold for scrap or destroyed.
“This is a win-win for responsible gun owners and law enforcement,” Tomes said. “It doesn’t make sense for law enforcement agencies to pay to destroy firearms and forego potential revenue.”
SB 229 now moves to the House of Representatives for further consideration.