Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Legislature Eyes Super Tax Abatements For Businesses As A Way Of Shifting More Of The Tax Burden To Individuals

It's Indiana so the goal is to fund as much of the state and local tax burden on the backs of working Hoosiers in order to levy as little taxes on businesses as possible. House and Senate leaders appear to be reaching consensus on a variety of plans that have been floated for cutting taxes on businesses this year, including Gov. Mike Pence's ambitious plan to eliminate the business personal property tax entirely. The AP reports on the latest plan to cut corporate income taxes and offer new super abatements for some businesses from the business personal property tax, presumably those businesses who are stuffing the most money in the politicians' pockets. Because neither the House or Senate plan calls for any replacement tax revenue,  that means that local governments will find other ways of raising taxes on individuals to make up for the loss of revenue.
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 at the beginning of 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.
Both proposals 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.
Neither plan includes the "replacement revenue" local leaders have sought as a backfill from the state to cover losses they would take as a result . . .
D.C. Stephenson was right. The Indiana General Assembly is the best legislature money can buy.

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