Legislators return to the statehouse today for what they predict will be the override of one of Governor Pence’s vetoes.
Jackson and Pulaski Counties each passed local income taxes in 1998 to finance new jails, but local and state officials overlooked a clause requiring them to lower the rate years later. Pence vetoed a bill to legalize the higher rate retroactively.
But Representative Douglas Gutwein (R-Francesville), Pulaski County‘s only House member, says he’s received just one email demanding a refund.
“All the money went precisely where it is supposed to go. This is an oversight from whoever wants to take credit for it,” Rep. Gutwein says.
Representative Jim Lucas (R-Seymour), whose district includes part of Jackson County, says he hasn’t had any emails requesting he kill the bill. Lucas says he doesn’t relish going against the Governor.
“I share his views on keeping our taxes low and wanting to be fiscally conservative,” Rep. Lucas says. “But this touches close to home for my district. I think it’s a good tax, if there is one.”
Both say their constituents understand the tax is targeted for a specific purpose.
Pence says the state is ready to issue the necessary six-million dollars in refunds, and would recoup the money from the counties over the next five-to-11 years by withholding scheduled increases in tax distributions.
The fix is one of several tax provisions in a 64-page bill.
Senator Jim Banks (R-Columbia City) was the only legislator to vote against it in either chamber. Gutwein predicts the override will pass.