Gov. Eric Holcomb will push lawmakers to reduce the tax burden on Indiana businesses in the upcoming legislative session. And he’s open to a discussion on other tax cuts – but not eager to do so this year.
Holcomb unveiled his modest 2022 agenda Monday.
Indiana’s business personal property tax is a levy on business equipment. Holcomb’s proposal would essentially eliminate a minimum level that all businesses pay for that tax on new equipment. He said it will help Indiana better compete for companies to move to the state.
Reducing that tax will cost local governments millions in revenue. Holcomb said the state should ensure those governments don’t lose out.
“Ours is on new equipment, so it wouldn’t be realized for years to come and it would give us time to actually understand what that price tag is,” Holcomb said.
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Legislative leaders have discussed the similar idea of eliminating what's called the "30 percent depreciation floor" of the business personal property tax – but on all equipment, which would cost local governments about $170 million a year right away.
When it comes to using the state’s $4 billion surplus on anything else this year, Holcomb is a no.
“I’m trying to be disciplined about controlling my own appetite to open up the budget in a non-budget year,” Holcomb said.
Holcomb said he’s looking forward to major spending in 2023, including significant investments in public health.
House Republican leaders will advocate for a cut to the state's individual income tax, while Senate GOP leaders, like Holcomb, have been more hesitant to do so this session.
Much of the rest of the governor's agenda is focused on implementing previously-announced programs and policies. That includes roll out of the $500 million READI grant program, awarded last month; major construction projects; increased broadband access; and trail development.
Highlights of the agenda beyond that include:
- Allowing the Indiana Economic Development Corporation more flexibility in the incentive packages it offers trying to entice companies to come to Indiana
- Revising the function and membership of the state's Early Learning Advisory Committee, while creating a new office in the Indiana Department of Education (the Department of Kindergarten Readiness) to study ways to improve early childhood education
- Launch a "marketplace" to connect educators – and training programs – with current job openings at schools across the state
- Proactively contact Hoosiers who are unemployed to connect them with job and training opportunities
- Increasing childhood lead screenings and lower the minimum threshold that triggers state engagement to help prevent future exposure and mitigate the negative effects
- Require more comprehensive investigations of Sudden Unexplained Infant Deaths
- Help local governments improve their cybersecurity
- Collect and properly dispose of firefighting foam that contains harmful chemicals known as PFAS, at no cost to local fire departments.