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Bill gives counties option on personal property taxes

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A proposal to allow individual counties the option to eliminate personal property taxes provoked debate in an Indiana Senate committee this week.

The bill’s author, Sen. Jim Buck, R-Kokomo, told the Senate Tax and Fiscal Policy Committee that giving counties the chance to eliminate personal property taxes — or taxes paid on commercial equipment — would foster economic growth. Those concerned about the measure, including county and local officials, said they worried about finding funding for parks, roads and sidewalks, among other things.

“We cannot honestly say we are for job growth but yet we continue to tolerate a tax that stymies job growth,” Buck said. “To leave this alone will in fact make us less competitive despite all the good we’ve done the last couple of years.”

Critics of the bill argue that taking away personal property tax could be devastating to a community. Terre Haute Mayor Duke Bennett, a Republican, said he wasn’t sure about the bill and would like to know where counties and cities would find necessary funding.

“One of the things that I think would benefit us greatly would be a food and beverage tax,” Bennett said. “We have a high amount of people who travel to Vigo County to eat and visit and all things that they do, spending a tremendous amount of money.”

Bennett also suggested increasing the sales tax. He said that companies look at more than tax rates when they make decisions about where to locate.

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