Reducing the business personal property tax and identifying ways to use transportation funding set aside in the budget last year are two of the GOP’s legislative priorities House Speaker Brian Bosma outlined today.
The plan for the business property tax wouldn’t completely eliminate the tax, even though Governor Mike Pence made elimination of the business personal property tax the cornerstone of his 2014 legislative agenda.
Pence had not identified a specific way to get rid of the levy on business equipment that brings in $1 billion a year to local governments.
What Bosma outlined would allow local governments to eliminate the tax on new purchases.
“Those counties that are heavily invested already in manufacturing and reliant on this source of revenue may wait and see how the chips fall so we actually are giving an incentive for those communities and counties that may not have heavy investment today to do so,” Bosma says.
House Minority Leader Scott Pelath applauded the GOP plan, saying Bosma has “given up” on the governor’s elimination proposal.
“It makes sense to not shift more of the tax burden onto homeowners, not have shortfalls for local governments so they have less police protection, less fire protection, less plowing.”
Bosma says his caucus may explore ways to replace lost revenue by giving local governments more flexibility in local income taxes.
The General Assembly put aside $400 million in the budget last session for future transportation needs. The money was meant to be a placeholder, not dedicated to any specific project.
Bosma, in line with what the governor has proposed, says his caucus wants to put those dollars to use.
“If you’ve had the opportunity – not this week but in prior weeks – to drive north, south, east, or west on our interstates, you know that there are some places that additional laneage is very desperately needed,” he says.
Pelath says Republicans should more clearly identify ways to solve the state’s most critical road issues.
“Just to say, ‘Hey let’s use some of the money that’s already set aside for roads,’ I don’t know that that’s particularly bold as an infrastructure improvement proposal,” Pelath says.
Bosma says the House Republican plan would leave it to the state Department of Transportation to determine which projects would receive the money.