Saturday, December 07, 2013 10:25 AM
By MAUREEN HAYDEN
CNHI Statehouse Bureau
INDIANAPOLIS – Mayors from across Indiana are gearing up for a fight against a legislative proposal that would eliminate a state business tax that produces nearly $1 billion in annual revenue for local governments, libraries and schools.
Republican leaders in the Indiana Statehouse want to get rid of the business personal property tax, arguing it would lure manufacturers and other big job-creators to the state. But a chorus of mayors say the loss of revenue would take a hit on communities already struggling with the impact of property tax caps that have drained their coffers. “We’re still discovering the consequences of the tax caps, and now they want to throw another disaster at us,” said Goshen Mayor Allan Kauffman. “It’s a crazy idea,” said Batesville Mayor Richard Fledderman. “I find it hard to believe that they would even consider doing this, with the impact that tax caps have already had on communities.”
A bipartisan group of mayors, meeting in Indianapolis Wednesday to talk about their legislative priorities for the next session, were vehement in their opposition to a proposal that’s been identified as a top priority for GOP leaders who control the Statehouse. Since the General Assembly passed legislation in 2008 capping local property taxes, Indiana’s cities and towns have lost about $250 million annually in revenue. Many have cut services in response. The word “crazy” was used by several mayors at the meeting to describe their sentiment about the tax cut proposal, which has strong backing from the Indiana Chamber of Commerce.