Column: Tax cut plan draws criticism

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By Pete Smith

Mike Claytor, a retired Carmel accountant and a Democratic candidate for Indiana State Auditor, has come out against Gov. Mike Pence’s proposal to eliminate the business personal property tax.

“The reason I’ve come out against it is because no one has said what they would do otherwise,” Claytor said, noting that he doesn’t want the business’ tax burden shifted onto idviduals. “In a bad economy, they can’t afford it.”

The Associated Press reports that analysts for the nonpartisan Legislative Services Agency predict that property taxes on homeowners could rise and locally-based income taxes could increase by nearly one percentage point.

Pence has made eliminating the tax on business equipment a centerpiece of this year’s legislative agenda and said that it’s necessary to spur job creation.

State Senator Mike Delph’s spokeswoman said that he hasn’t formulated a stance yet but will work on the issue in committee during the upcoming legislative session.

The Hamilton County Auditor’s Office estimates that Hamilton County overall could have about $20 million less revenue if the tax were eliminated. It also projects that the City of Carmel would lose about $2.6 million and Carmel schools would lose $3.4 million in revenue per year.

That’s a big loss in revenue, but Claytor said it wouldn’t affect the bottom line of the Carmel Redevelopment Commission because the business personal property taxes aren’t part of Carmel’s TIF revenue.

Carmel Mayor Jim Brainard said the amount the city would loose is more likely about $2.75 million.

“I question a policy of giving a break on chattel property, much of which is owned by out-of-state companies and putting it on the backs of residential taxpayers,” Brainard said. “Indiana has a very low competitive tax environment. We need to focus the resources we have on education and good jobs, not minimum wage jobs.”

Brainard said that State Senator Luke Kenley, whose district encompasses part of east Carmel, has pledged that the tax cut won’t be passed without some form of replacement income.

Where that comes from has yet to be determined.

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