Governor Pence made phasing out the state’s business personal property tax one of the cornerstones of his 2014 legislative agenda. Yet neither House nor Senate proposals come close to a full phase out. Pence pushed hard for a preschool pilot program that would provide vouchers for low-income children to attend preschool, even testifying in person before the Senate Education Committee. Yet that committee eliminated the program entirely, instead creating a study commission to explore the issue.
Pence definitively called on the Senate to restore the controversial second sentence of HJR-3. But that restoration couldn’t even get a vote. House Minority Leader Scott Pelath says he’s surprised Pence hasn’t pushed harder for his issues.
“Maybe he doesn’t feel like he can get tough with these two supermajorities,” Pelath said. “But I’ve seen it happen and I’ve seen governors move mountains when they so choose.”
But Speaker Brian Bosma says getting a pre-K study committee is still a victory and there’s been too much singular focus on HJR-3.
“So this has been a very active session,” Bosma said. “It wouldn’t appear to a third party perhaps if they’re just getting their information through the media. I’m not criticizing – there’s just an overwhelming media coverage of a single issue. Really, we’re going to be very pleased with the results by the time we’re done here.”
Bosma says he expects meaningful legislation dealing with the business personal property tax before the session is finished.