Indianapolis (February 24, 2014) – No one under the State House dome is talking about defunding municipal governments and Hoosiers should examine for themselves the actual proposals to repeal the business personal property tax, said the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) today.
“Local government officials have rushed to the ramparts to stop this and some of their rhetoric is unhelpful,” said NFIB Indiana State Director Barbara Quandt. “We’re talking about reforming the way we finance local government so that businesses can concentrate more resources on creating jobs and growing our economy. No one is talking about draining local budgets so that important services are jeopardized.”
Governor Pence and Legislative leaders want to reform the tax on personal property , which is levied by local governments on business equipment. It punishes entrepreneurs from investing in their own businesses and it makes Indiana less competitive, said Quandt.
“It drains capital from small businesses that they would otherwise use for new equipment and new employees,” said Quandt. “It may be a good revenue source for local governments but there are other ways to finance those services without discouraging economic growth. Beyond that, the House proposal would make it optional. So the local officials who like the status quo don’t have to change. The Senate version would spare 70 percent of Hoosier small businesses from having to file the tax.
Some mayors and school officials have been extremely vocal in their opposition and they’re painting a dark picture. One, for example, talked about “gutting schools, closing libraries and laying off police.”
“That kind of rhetoric scares people and makes it harder to have a reasonable discussion,” said Quandt. “It would be helpful if local officials would tone down the rhetoric and consider that everyone wants to ensure that important local services aren’t jeopardized.”
Small business owners in Indiana strongly favor reforming the business personal property tax, which is why it’s NFIB’s top legislative goal this year.
“We’ve done a lot in the last several years to make Indiana more competitive but so have a number of other states,” said Quandt. “We’re in a very intense competition among the states to attract business investors and the business personal property tax doesn’t help.
“Think of manufacturers and industrial businesses that are already facing very tough international competition. If they’re looking for a home in the United States, we want them to come to Indiana. And there are many towns and counties in Indiana that desperately need those employers. This is an important proposal and we should be debating it without all of the hysterics.”
To learn more about NFIB, please visit www.nfib.com.