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Article updated: 2/25/2014 6:54 AM

Indiana House looks to restore business tax cut

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By Associated Press

INDIANAPOLIS -- A panel of Indiana House lawmakers is set to consider a series of amendments that would overhaul the Senate-approved plan for cutting the state's property tax on business equipment.

The amendment comes amid a continuing back and forth between House and Senate budget leaders searching for a way to cut the state's business personal property tax without cutting into local budgets too deeply.

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Senate Republicans proposed eliminating the tax for small businesses, cutting the corporate income tax from 6.5 percent to 4.9 percent and eliminating various tax credits to offset most of the cost. But the House amendments would effectively overhaul the Senate plan to resemble the House-passed bill, which would allow counties to decide whether to cut the tax.

Senate Appropriations Chairman Luke Kenley has suggested the issue might need to be reviewed by a study committee after this year's legislative session before lawmakers take any action. But other lawmakers, including House Speaker Brian Bosma, R-Indianapolis, and Senate Tax and Fiscal Policy Chairman Brandt Hershman, R-Buck Creek, have said they expect at least some cut to be approved during the 2014 session.

Republican Gov. Mike Pence originally sought the elimination of the equipment tax, but trimmed back his request in the face of strong opposition among local government leaders, including many Republican mayors. The governor has said he is open to paying for any money lost by locals through the Senate proposal, but also said he would like to see the House plan pass.

A Pence spokeswoman said he wants at least some amount of tax cut to pass, instead of being stuck with no more than lawmakers studying the issue in a committee over the summer.

The House Ways and Means Committee is scheduled to debate the changes when it meets Tuesday morning.

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