March 23, 2014

HOWEY: For Indiana GOP, it’s tax cut ‘showtime!’


House Republicans released a fascinating chart detailing the various tax cuts over the past 20 years. If you’re in the Middle Class, this tax cut series began with a 50 percent auto excise reduction in 1995, property tax cuts in 1996, 1997, 2002, 2006 and the Mother of All Property Tax Cuts in 2008. Some of the earlier property tax cuts in this sequence were overrun by other forces over the years. There was the 5 percent income tax cut last year that put about $50 a year into the pocket of the common Hoosier (I spent mine on a really cool bird feeder), and the automatic taxpayer refund act of 2011.

But then you look at the business tax cuts that have created what House Speaker Brian Bosma calls the “best business environment in the Midwest through policies that encourage and incentivize companies from all over the world to relocate and grow in Indiana.”

Indeed, there was the corporate gross income tax repeal in 2002, the inventory tax phase out that began in 2004, the 2005 elimination of sales tax on research and development equipment, the 25 percent cut in corporate income tax in 2011, the death tax phase out of 2012, the accelerated death tax repeal in 2014 as well as the reduction of the financial institutions tax, and now set for 2015 the phase down of corporate income and financial institutions tax rates to 4.9%, or the lowest in the nation. If you want to get a crowd of middle class Republicans cheering, tell ‘em you’ve cut the death tax that really only helps the top 5 percent, with the replacement taxes spread out over the rest of us.

What do we have to show for all of these business tax cuts? This is where we get into alternative universe territory.

Indiana’s jobless rate spent more than five years above 8 percent. It finally came down to 7.8 percent last September, 6.9 percent at the end of 2013 and 6.4 percent in January. But House Democratic Leader Scott Pelath noted that despite the .4 percent decline between December and January, there was actually a 9,705 decrease in the number of employed Hoosiers while 82 of Indiana’s 92 counties saw jobless rates go up.

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