Governor Mike Pence’s proposed 10-percent income tax cut was denied an up-or-down vote on the House floor Thursday. House Republicans used parliamentary procedure to deny a Democratic amendment.
House Democrats offered the governor’s proposed tax cut as an amendment to the budget bill. But House rules say an amendment cannot be offered whose language exists in any authored bill, and the Pence tax cut is contained in a bill authored by Ways and Means Chair Tim Brown, which went nowhere.
House Minority Leader Scott Pelath says Pence’s proposal is too important to be waved aside by parliamentary procedure.
“I’m a little bit shocked and awed that nobody even tried to help the gentleman on the second floor, so this is more important than Rule 118,” Pelath says. “We’re going to have a vote. I’d like the straight up-or-down vote on it, but this is going to be the vote.”
House Democrats appealed the Speaker’s decision to deny their amendment, triggering a vote of the full House. Carmel Republican Jerry Torr, the GOP’s House rules expert, says that vote is not about the tax cut.
“This is a vote on our rules and whether or not we follow the rules,” Torr says. “This is a House that lives by those rules. If we don’t have those rules, we can’t make laws and it would just be havoc.”
Torr noted that Democrats could get a chance to vote on the governor’s tax cut in April, after a new state revenue forecast is released.