Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Columns

March 25, 2014

MAUREEN HAYDEN: Pence ally stung by plan that cuts business taxes

Absence of way to replace revenue has many worried.

(Continued)

And he helped mobilize Rush County Republicans who control city and county government. The county commissioners, County Council and City Common Council teamed up with the school board and local Chamber of Commerce to pass a joint resolution — mirroring those passed by Republicans across the state — that opposes any legislation to reduce or eliminate the business tax.

City Councilman Bob Bridges and County Commissioner Bruce Levi, both Republicans, called Pence’s proposal “devastating” for the community and its schools.

You’d think all those Rush County Republicans would have taken comfort in Pence’s oft-repeated words he and the super-majority Republicans in the Legislature would protect communities from being “unduly harmed.” But his failure to define “undue harm,” along with the absence of a plan to replace revenue, spoke louder than his words.

In the end, Pence’s big plan fell short. The legislation that came out of the General Assembly in its waning hours is just a partial rollback. It gives counties the authority to begin reducing the tax in July 2015 and sets up a “blue ribbon” commission to study the tax and its impact.

But Pavey and his peers remain both vigilant and convinced of the eventual end of the business personal property tax — with no replacement dollars from the state.

And that pains the mayor.

“I like the governor personally,” Pavey said. “It’s a very uncomfortable position to be put in, to have to say to him, ‘Slow down before you hurt this community.’”

Maureen Hayden covers the Statehouse for CNHI newspapers in Indiana, including the Kokomo Tribune. She can be reached at maureen.hayden@indianamediagroup.com.

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