INDIANAPOLIS | Gov. Mike Pence's proposal to eliminate the business personal property tax has received a frosty reception from the top elected officials in LaPorte County.
The three LaPorte County commissioners last week unanimously approved a resolution condemning the tax cut plan and warning county services would be dramatically reduced if it is enacted without a sufficient replacement for lost revenue.
"Our manufacturing climate is already attractive to new business, and we believe other amenities are just as important in inducing new business and retaining existing business," they said.
"Schools, county and city government in our county cannot afford the loss of revenue that elimination of the business personal property tax would entail."
Estimates of how much money LaPorte County governments could lose were not available from the state Monday due to the county's long-delayed property tax collections.
In 2012, business personal property tax revenue totaled $1.04 billion statewide, including $109 million in Lake County (17.5 percent of county property tax revenue) and $25 million in Porter County (13.4 percent).
Personal property tax revenue in LaPorte County, a manufacturing center similar to Lake County, likely falls between those two amounts. In all three counties, more property tax revenue is paid to schools than any other entity.
The Republican governor said Thursday he believes permanently removing the tax on business and manufacturing equipment will create jobs by attracting new companies lured by improvements to Indiana's already top-rated business tax climate.
The LaPorte commissioners, all Democrats, agree with House Democratic Leader Scott Pelath, D-Michigan City, that in the wake of state-imposed property tax caps and reduced state and federal aid to local governments, now is not the time for major revenue reduction with limited economic payoff.