A coalition of local leaders from around Indiana, including city, county, school and public safety officials, is uniting to oppose legislation reducing or eliminating the state’s business personal property.
They’re calling it the “Replace, Don’t Erase” coalition. Sixteen statewide organizations led by the Indiana Association of Cities and Towns calling on the General Assembly to halt any legislation cutting the business personal property tax without fully replacing the lost revenues.
The tax, a levy on business equipment, brings in about $1 billion a year, all of which goes to local governments. There are two proposals dealing with the tax, one in the House and one in the Senate.
Senate President Pro Tem David Long says the legislature will find a way to blend them.
“The most important thing in my eyes right now is not to handicap local government,” he says. “We’ve been tough on them with our property tax caps – intentionally so. It’s requiring them to innovate, to streamline their services and what not.”
The House version would allow local governments to eliminate the tax on new equipment. The Senate version eliminates the tax for small businesses.
Association of Cities and Towns Executive Director Matt Greller says neither is sufficient.
“It’s kind of like asking my kid if he’d rather be grounded for a month or two weeks,” he says. “With a gun to my head, I would prefer Senate Bill 1.”
But Greller says despite the Senate bill’s smaller impact on local communities, without replacement revenue it’s still unacceptable.