Pharos-Tribune

Opinion

September 22, 2013

HOWEY: Indiana needs a tax abatement for home building

(Continued)

You build your house and pay no property taxes the first year, then 20 percent the second, 40% the third . . . .

You get it.

Here in Indiana, in the last few years, we’ve phased out the inheritance tax, which does virtually nothing for the middle class. We have cut the financial institutions and corporate taxes, which doesn’t do squat for the middle class.

And then there was Gov. Mike Pence’s 5 percent income tax cut, which you might notice if you squint and compare your last pay stub to one from last June.

That was symbolic. It will do little to create jobs.

In a Howey Politics Indiana column by former House Majority Leader Russ Stilwell last May, he told this story: A couple years ago I asked a corporate finance officer of a large Indiana company what would happen if they received a 25 percent Hoosier corporate tax cut. Would they create jobs with the new found money? The answer was sobering. “We don’t create jobs with tax cuts. We create jobs when there is more demand for our product. We cut jobs when the demand is less demand. I hate to say this, but any new found money at the end of the year is added to our profit line. That extra profit would just mean my share of the profits [bonus] would just be larger.”

Indiana jobs will be created when people start buying stuff. When places like Old Fort begin to have more customers.

So Gov. Pence and the Indiana General Assembly in 2014 should create the Middle Class Home Improvement Tax Abatement Program. It should create tax incentives for Hoosiers to build more homes, and add on to the ones they’ve got.

When we start building more homes and adding on to existing ones, more contractors will be employed to construct them. More masons will lay brick. More dry wall will be nailed in. More toilets, granite kitchen counter tops, garage doors and fireplace inserts will be bought, and more nails and screws will be sold everywhere from Lowe’s to the local hardware store.

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