Editor, Times-Union:
I am a candidate for District 22, Indiana House of Representatives. I appreciate the opportunity to let the public know my position on specific proposed legislation. Constituents are also entitled to know my reasoning.
I oppose repealing Indiana’s equipment property tax.
Governor Michael Pence has proposed eliminating the tax. He and his allies argue that eliminating this tax will attract more businesses to Indiana. I contend that elimination will severely harm the functions of municipal, township and county governments as well as school districts. It is estimated that $1 billion will be lost by such local entities if the tax is repealed. Local governments and schools will be forced to cut services or look for alternative sources of revenue to continue functioning at an effective level. Some have suggested that the shortfalls could be made up by an increase in other taxes, including other property taxes. Either alternative has the net effect of harming the public with fewer services or higher local taxes or both. The governor has suggested that the shortfall to local communities could be made up from other sources, but neither he nor his allies have explained how the shortfall could be addressed.
I also challenge the governor’s premise. Businesses choose to locate in a community based upon a number of factors. Tax rates are only one thing considered. Business owners and corporate executives also look at the quality of the community infrastructures. After all, they and their families as well as the employees and their families will live in the community. How are the roads and transportation systems? What public services are available? Are the schools of good quality? Are there high-level recreational infrastructures? Do the local governments function effectively? How effective are local police and fire services? All these components of the community could be adversely affected by an elimination of the equipment tax. A crumbling infrastructure and high taxes upon the people may well, in the long run, discourage businesses from locating to Indiana.
For these reasons I oppose repealing the business equipment tax.
David C. Kolbe
Warsaw, via e-mail