Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Star Reports Indiana Tax Conference Brings Together National and State Experts

From the Indianapolis Star:

If Indiana is going to successfully simplify or overhaul its state tax structure, national and state tax experts said Tuesday, the effort will have to be transparent and the public trust in government will first need to be restored.

Indiana's tax code, considered to be one of the most complex in the country, may be in for a redesign during the next legislative session — at least that's what Gov. Mike Pence said he hopes will happen.

"I want to be very clear. As governor, I won't support a tax increase," he said during his all-day Indiana Tax Competitiveness and Simplification Conference. "I am interested in ways we can reform taxes, simplify taxes in ways that will make Indiana more attractive for investment and growth. ... This is really about considering ways we can have a tax system that's fair for all concerned."

About 200 tax experts invited to Pence's conference opined about how Indiana should create a simpler and fairer tax structure that will spur growth.

They warned it won't be easy. Some taxes may go up, others down. And people may not understand. Distrust in government is high, they said, so that has to be addressed to get public buy-in.

Even at this early stage, criticism emerged from some Democratic leaders and Greater Indianapolis Socialist Party-USA members. They complained that the conference was closed to the public (except by webcast) and contended that tax experts invited were only conservative thinkers espousing tired economic policies of the past.

Pence, however, said he was pleased with the voices assembled. He wants legislators to listen to ideas discussed Tuesday and consider others before coming together next year to draft tax changes.