2014 Legislative Session Wrap-Up

Date: March 18, 2014

Related Content: NFIB in My State State Indiana

Another super session for
NFIB and small biz?  You bet!  Let me count the ways….. 

#1  Business Personal Property Tax Reform:     Check!
#2  Corporate Income Tax Reduced:     Check!
#3  Streamlined & Accelerated Building Plan
Reviews and Inspections:     Check!
#4  One Stop Shop for Business Contact with the
State:     Check!
#5 Greater Emphases on Small
Business by State Government:     Check!
#6  Unemployment Insurance Reform:     Check!
#7  Assessment of Real Property Reform:     Check!

And that is really just the
beginning…….

Here is a brief rundown of
small business victories in in the 2014 Legislative Session:

Senate Bill 1 – State and Local Taxation  (Hershman
B)

In the session that just
ended late Thursday night, we were successful in securing a local option for
exempting new personal property and a local option to exempt the first $20,000
of existing personal property.  If adopted by a county, the $20,000
exemption would eliminate the tax for 50% of all Business Personal Property Tax
filers with almost no impact to local governments.  Many of these small
business returns are “nuisance” filings which cost more to comply with and
process than they generate in tax revenue. 
This bill also provides for a Blue Ribbon Commission to study the
eventual elimination of the tax.  And finally, this was all wrapped in a
bow with a significant reduction in the Corporate Income Tax.

The issue of Business Personal
Property Tax reform drew a lot of opposition from local government officials
who were concerned that the tax would be eliminated.  None of the proposals, however, would have
eliminated the tax.  The final bill
combined the House Bill 1001 (local option for exempting new personal property)
and the Senate Bill 1 (small business exemption, corporate tax reduction and
study commission).  Governor Pence, the Speaker and the President Pro-Tem
can all claim victory.  Locals are still
crying foul, but the study commission will provide for a full airing of the
issue and a thorough review of tax reform options.

Reforming Indiana’s Business Personal Property Tax is
the number one state issue for NFIB members. 
NFIB Indiana State Director and members testified several times in
support of reform.

Conference Committee Report
adopted by House 63 to 37

House Bill 1020 – Study of Economic Development
Incentives –
(Koch E) 

Among other provisions, this
bill requires the commission on state tax and financing policy to review,
analyze, and evaluate state and local tax incentives that are provided to
encourage economic development or to alter, reward, or subsidize a particular
action or behavior by a tax incentive recipient.

Note:  This
issue is one that emerged following the series of Town Hall meetings conducted
last summer by the Indiana
Legislature’s Small Business Caucus.

Conference Committee Report
adopted by Senate 48 to 0

House Bill 1198 – Business Single Point of Contact
with State –
(Heuer K)

This bill specifies that
state agencies, including the department of workforce development and the
department of state revenue, shall provide assistance at no cost to the
secretary of state in developing and maintaining a one stop Internet web site
for businesses to use. Requires the department of state revenue and the
department of workforce development to coordinate with the secretary of state
to use an Internet web site to share information with other state agencies and
to provide a single point of contact with all state agencies for a person to
accomplish various requirements to transact business in the state.

This is another proposal emerging from the Small
Business Caucus Town Halls last summer. 
Small business owners repeatedly expressed their frustration in dealing
with state agencies and the difficulty they encounter when attempting to get
timely, accurate information. 

Motion to Concur in Senate
Amendments: prevailed in House 90 to 0

House Bill 1301 – Fire and Building Safety Issues (VanNatter H)

Among other provisions, this
bill requires the state building commissioner to issue a written interpretation
of a building law or fire safety law not later than 10 business days after the
date of receiving a request. It provides that a design release may be issued without
a plan review if: (1) the application for a design release is complete; and (2)
the application for a design release is not selected for a plan review by the
division. It establishes deadlines for the division to conduct plan reviews and
provide notices. It also provides that, with certain exceptions, if the
division fails to provide notice or complete plan review within the time
required by statute, a design release must be issued without further
review.  

HB 1301 is yet another issue that was brought up at
the Small Business Town Halls.  Many
complaints were raised about the slow pace of plan reviews and the adverse
effect this has on small businesses around the state.

Motion to concur in Senate
Amendments:  prevailed in House; 71 to 15

HB 1332 – Office of Small Business and
Entrepreneurship –
This bill codifies
the law concerning the office of small business and entrepreneurship. It transfers
the small business development center, the small business ombudsman, and the
young entrepreneurs program from the Indiana
economic development corporation to the office of small business and
entrepreneurship by removing or repealing the appropriate provisions in the Indiana economic
development corporation law and recodifying them in the law concerning the lieutenant
governor. It extends the young entrepreneurs program by two years and makes
other changes to the Indiana
code.

This legislation that makes
common sense streamlined changes and places greater emphasis on the job
creators of Indiana.

HB 1332 passed out of the
House and Senate and has been signed by the President Pro Tempore.

Senate
Bill 266 – Assessment of Real Property – (
Schneider  S)

This
bill consolidates provisions relating to the burden of proof concerning
assessments into one section of the Indiana Code (and repeals the existing
provision that is moved to another citation in the Indiana Code). It also specifies
that if the assessed value of real property is increased above the amount of
the assessed value as reduced by any assessing official or reviewing authority,
the assessing official making the assessment has the burden of proving that the
assessment is correct. (Under current law, this burden of proof applies only if
the assessed value was reduced by the property tax assessment board of
appeals.) Amends the existing law concerning the assessor’s burden of proof
when an assessment is increased by more than 5% over the prior tax year by
specifying the following: (1) In calculating the change in the assessment, the
assessment to be used for the prior tax year is the original assessment for
that prior tax year or, if applicable, the assessment for that prior tax year
as last corrected by an assessing official, as stipulated or settled by the
taxpayer and the assessing official, or as determined by the reviewing
authority. (2) If the assessor fails to meet the burden of proof, the taxpayer
may introduce evidence to prove the correct assessment. (3) If neither the
assessor nor the taxpayer meets these burdens of proof, the assessment reverts
to the assessment for the prior tax year. (4) These provisions concerning the
burden of proof do not apply to an assessment that is based on structural
improvements, zoning, or uses that were not considered in the assessment for
the prior tax year.

Conference Committee
Report adopted by the Senate:  45 to 0

House Bill 1083 – Child Labor Law and Unemployment Insurance – (Torr J)

We needed a GPS to
keep track of the unemployment bill.  It
was originally HB 1346, but then all the unemployment language was stripped in
Conference Committee on March 10th and language concerning Fort Wayne government was
inserted.  Can they do this?  Unfortunately…Yes!  Then the language miraculously appeared a
day or so later in HB 1083.

This bill makes some
needed changes in issues concerning teen labor. 
It also reforms the unemployment insurance system.  Among other provisions, it removes any burden
of proof from the determination of eligibility for benefits and the
determination of gross misconduct.  In
other words…. Small business owners should no longer have the deck stacked
against them in a claims appeal hearing. 

Note:  This is another of the
issues that emerged in the Small Business Town Halls.  There were numerous complaints of workers
receiving benefits in spite of being fired for just cause.  We hope to see improvement in the
adjudication process.

These are just a few of the
issues we worked on during the session.  If
there is a bill that was of particular interest to you, please don’t hesitate
to contact me by phone at 317-638-4447 or by email at barbara.quandt@nfib.org.

Thank you for being an NFIB
member!

Barbara Quandt, NFIB Indiana
State Director

Related Content: NFIB in My State | State | Indiana

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