Thursday, February 13, 2014

IBJ Reports House Panel Removes Corporate Tax Increase from Mass Transit Bill

From the Indianapolis Business Journal:

A House committee stripped a corporate tax increase out of a bill that would authorize an expanded mass transit system for central Indiana.

But the committee left language that lets local officials increase individual income taxes to pay for the multi-county system, if voters agree.

“None of these counties are forced to participate,” said the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Jerry Torr, R-Carmel. “This bill provides nothing but local option, local control for local elected officials to have a mechanism to create an expanded transit system for central Indiana.”

The House Roads and Transportation Committee passed the amended bill 11-1. Chairman Ed Soliday, R-Valparaiso, said he’s not sure if the bill will head next to the Ways and Means Committee, which considers fiscal issues, or go straight to the full House.

If the House approves the bill as amended, it will set up a debate between the Republican-controlled chambers about who pays for expanded transit.

As passed by the Senate, the bill would let local officials in six central Indiana counties—Delaware, Hamilton, Hancock, Johnson, Madison and Marion—seek voter approval to raise income taxes and creates a new local corporate income tax. The Senate version of the bill also requires that user fares fund at least 25 percent of the cost of operating the bus system.