The bill lawmakers are expected to enact over Pence’s objections is House Enrolled Act 1546, a tax measure which among other things retroactively approve local income taxes in Jackson and Pulaski counties that had mistakenly not been reauthorized. Pence, in his veto statement and again in a letter Monday to lawmakers, argued that HEA 1546 “would approve, after the fact, the collection of taxes that were not owed.”
Pence said the state has identified taxpayers who should get a refund, and will soon
notify employers in Jackson and Pulaski counties to stop withholding the taxes from paychecks. Those counties have “health cash balances,” Pence said which allow them to weather the refunds and reduced revenues.
Governor Mike Pence
The bill, though, easily passed the legislature and so far it appears Pence hasn’t changed their minds....
“Residents and elected officials in Jackson and Pulaski counties have asked for the legislature’s assistance to address the issues affecting thousands of Hoosiers in those counties and to continue the allocation of pledged funds toward their designated obligations,” Bosma said....The situation epitomizes a growing problem with Hoosiers' steadily increasing tax burden. Rather than state officials wanting to raise taxes, it now is usually local government officials clamoring for more taxes and fees. Instead of going to basic government services, much of that increased tax revenue gets spent on "economic development," i.e. is money transferred from taxpayers to private developers who are often big contributors to the very local politicians who are authorizing the projects. Further, there is no revolving door for local officials so many local elected and appointed officials go from their public positions to cushy, well-paid jobs with the very private companies that have received contracts from local government.
The trend of local governments wanting higher and more tax dollars to spend on economic development projects crosses party lines. Three of the biggest spenders of tax dollars in that regard are Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard, Carmel Mayor Jim Brainard and Westfield Mayor Andy Cook, all Republicans.
Thankfully though Governor Mike Pence stood by his conservative principles and vetoed the bill. It is a shame that it is unlikely that the Indiana General Assembly will sustain that veto.