Pharos-Tribune

Columns

March 2, 2014

FRIEND: Session nearing the end

The weather has improved somewhat, and people are moving around. There is excessive water as the snow melts, but our folks are very resilient and will deal with the problems. One of the requirements of living here is that everyone needs to be tough.

Saturday, the Miami County 4-H Sausage and Pancake Day was a well-attended success. The committee that organizes this event always does a fantastic job of putting it together. Sponsors, contributors and workers all come together for a 12-hour serving day. I congratulate them on their success because it helps fund 4-H fair activities.

Promoting our state’s agricultural operations is always a priority, and this year, Senate Bill 101, which would strengthen trespass penalties on farmland, is progressing and has broad support in both chambers. The bill passed the Senate without any criticism, and most of the groups that have opposed previous legislative proposals on this topic have been supportive or neutral of the bill. Perhaps this bill can be passed for some additional protection down on the farm.

Discussions continue this session about tax policy and how it affects job creation and economic development. With only a few weeks of session remaining, we are discussing Senate legislation, and the Senate is discussing bills that passed the House. The House wants to grant counties the option of exempting new investments from the Business Personal Property Tax (BPPT). The Senate originally proposed cutting the tax for all small businesses that pay less than $25,000 annually.

Our option does not completely eliminate the BPPT. Throughout this discussion, a lot has been said by outside parties and special interest groups about the “complete elimination” of this tax and how it would cost local governments $1 billion in Indiana. To be clear, neither chamber is proposing a $1 billion cut to local governments. It simply will not happen.

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