Batesville Herald Tribune, Batesville, Indiana

Local News

March 22, 2014

Chamber dinner topics: state advocacy and local goals

BROOKVILLE – At the 125th Brookville/Franklin County Chamber of Commerce annual meeting March 18, Mike Ripley, the Indiana Chamber of Commerce health care vice president, noted, “While we offer many services … advocacy is our primary mission. To work for business legislation with the General Assembly to get things passed that are good for businesses here in Indiana.” He pointed out the Indiana Chamber is the largest business advocacy group in the state with 5,000 members representing 800,000 employees.

Reflecting on the recent General Assembly, Ripley reported 855 bills were filed in both houses and about 220 passed, “a lot of activity for the short session. Probably the No. 1 issue was in the tax and fiscal area.” One achievement was the passage of Senate Bill 1.

Indiana Chamber President Kevin Brinegar noted on the Web site, “Positive movement on this issue has been a long time coming. Business personal property tax has been the one tax policy area in which we stand out negatively. Some states don’t tax it at all, and Indiana’s rate is among the highest in the country.

“This legislation begins to offer relief to Indiana businesses and is a good initial step toward totally eliminating personal property tax in the future. The two local options, which provide for the ability to exempt newly-acquired property outright or for small businesses, and the ‘super abatement’ (extending tax abatement from 10 to 20 years) will prove to be meaningful tools in attracting new business and jobs to the state,” he predicted.

The speaker said the bill also will reduce the corporate tax rate from 6.5 percent to 4.9 percent in 2022 and will create a commission to study how eliminating the business personal property tax will impact local governments and TIF districts.

Two more business successes: House Bill 1083 will allow 16- and 17-year-olds to work later in the evening. When a former employee makes an unemployment claim and it’s disputed, the burden of proof is removed from both parties when they appear in front of an administrative law judge. Ripley explained the judge will base the decision on law. “We thought it was a very good idea. Labor folks didn’t like it, but it passed anyway.”

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