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Pence Offers Options for Tax Phase Out

Governor Mike Pence is starting to publicly suggest options for phasing out the state’s business personal property tax, the tent pole of his 2014 legislative agenda.

Pence has been vague on specifics up to now, saying he wants to allow the broadest range of debate in the legislature. But the governor Tuesday publicly discussed a few options for phasing out the personal property tax, a levy that generates one billion dollars a year for local governments.

One suggestion  House Speaker Brian Bosma also mentioned last month would allow county governments to voluntarily eliminate the tax. Another route gradually phases out the tax by exempting new purchases.

Pence says Indiana could also look to its northern neighbor, Michigan, which is currently phasing out its personal property tax.  He says “beginning by exempting personal property purchases up to a specific level and then phasing it out incrementally until all personal property tax is exempt by the year 2024.”

Indianapolis Republican Senator Jim Merritt says the legislature has a record of not engaging with local governments on issues.“We need to do a really good job on allowing the local governments the ability to fund themselves in a different way because this is going to be a real hole in their pocket” Merritt says. “ We need input from them.”

Merritt says he thinks finding the right balance will take more than one session. 

Brandon Smith is excited to be working for public radio in Indiana. He has previously worked in public radio as a reporter and anchor in mid-Missouri for KBIA Radio out of Columbia. Prior to that, he worked for WSPY Radio in Plano, Illinois as a show host, reporter, producer and anchor. His first job in radio was in another state capitol, in Jefferson City, Missouri, as a reporter for three radio stations around Missouri. Brandon graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a Bachelor of Journalism in 2010, with minors in political science and history. He was born and raised in Chicago.