State and Local Taxation
Senate Bill 1
Summary:
Provides that if the assessed value of a taxpayer’s business personal property in a county that would otherwise be subject to taxation is less than $25,000 for a particular assessment date: (1) the taxpayer is not required to file a personal property return for the taxpayer’s business personal property in the county for that assessment date; and (2) the taxpayer’s business personal property in the county is exempt from taxation for that assessment date. Requires the taxpayer to file an informational return with the county assessor. Provides that the tax rate for certain tax increment financing areas shall be calculated as if this exemption were not in effect. Phases down the corporate income tax rate from 6.5% in 2015 to 4.9% in 2019. Reduces the research and development tax credit percentage by half for qualified research expense incurred after 2014.
AFP Position: Support
Reason:
A cornerstone 2014 policy priority for AFP Indiana is reforming Indiana’s business personal property tax. This bill takes a comprehensive approach toward achieving this reform by exempting business personal property under $25,000 and reducing the corporate income tax rate. Take Action on this bill here!
Status:
Passed Second Reading 1/28/14


Study of Local Pension Plan
Senate Bill 54
Summary: Urges the legislative council to assign to the pension management oversight commission or another appropriate committee the task of studying the status of existing local government unit pension plans, including the participation of local government units in the public employees’ retirement fund, to determine whether changes are necessary or advisable.
AFP Position: Support
Reason: Across the United States, pension obligations are causing greater strain to local and state budgets than ever before. To this end, it is fiscally prudent for local governments to study and analyze current and future pension liabilities.
Status: Passed Senate; Moves to House; Passed House Committee


Local Government Transparency
Senate Bill 106
Summary: Requires the department of local government finance (DLGF) to develop indicators of fiscal health for school corporations and other political subdivisions. Requires the DLGF to present information for evaluating the fiscal health of political subdivisions on the Indiana transparency Internet web site through conveniently and easily accessed dashboards. Allows political subdivisions showing signs of fiscal distress to request technical assistance from the distressed unit appeals board (DUAB) beginning in 2015. Requires the office of management and budget (OMB) to evaluate whether the DUAB requires additional powers and resources to provide technical assistance. Allows the OMB to recommend any legislation necessary to provide those additional powers and resources to the DUAB.
AFP Position: Support
Reason:
 AFP Indiana supports efforts make government at all levels more transparent. This bill increases local government transparency by adding local government fiscal health evaluations to the Indiana Transparency Portal.
Status: Passed Third Reading; Moves to House


Redevelopment Commissions and Authorities
Senate Bill 118

Summary: Provides that a redevelopment commission may not enter into any obligation payable from public funds without first obtaining the approval of the legislative or fiscal body of the unit that established the commission or authority. Provides that the Indianapolis controller is the fiscal officer of the redevelopment commission and redevelopment authority in Indianapolis. Authorizes the Indianapolis controller to obtain financial services on a contractual basis.
AFP Position: Support
Reason: This bill creates an elected check on redevelopment commissions and protects Hoosier taxpayers from costly expenditures.
Status: Passed Senate


Central Indiana Transit
Senate Bill 176
Summary:
Provides for the establishment or expansion of public transportation services in an eligible county through local public questions placed on the ballot under ordinances adopted by the fiscal body of the eligible county. Provides that Delaware County, Hamilton County, Johnson County, Madison County, and Marion County are eligible counties. Authorizes eligible counties to fund approved public transportation projects through various parts of the local option income tax rates that are available under current law for other purposes and by imposing on C corporations a county income tax or a county employment tax. Specifies that fares must cover 25% of the operating costs of a transportation system established or expanded under the bill. Authorizes interlocal agreements and public-private partnerships with respect to a public transportation project.
AFP Position: Oppose
Reason:
First, this bill would increase the tax burden on Hoosier job creators as well as individual taxpayers. Secondly, while 25% of the operating costs are passed to transit users, as structured today, this would result in fare increases on those who can possibly least afford it. Altogether, this transit plan could result in up to $125 million or more in new taxes every year for a handful of central Indiana counties.
Status: Passed Senate; Moves to House; Passed House Committee


Sports and Convention Development Areas
Senate Bill 308
 
Summary: Provides that authority for the 10% rate for the Marion County admissions tax is extended through 2044 (rather than through February of 2023). Extends the period in current law under which the Marion County admissions tax applies to all events at a covered facility (rather than applying only to professional sporting events). Provides that the Marion County professional sports development area (PSDA) may be changed to include the site or future site of a facility or complex of facilities that includes a soccer stadium, subject to certain conditions imposed upon the metropolitan development commission and the owner of the soccer franchise that would be the primary tenant of a soccer stadium. Allows an additional $2,000,000 of state revenue to be captured each year, for 30 years, from the area added to the PSDA to include a soccer stadium. Provides, however, that this amount of additional state revenue that may be captured is reduced each year by the amount of admissions tax revenue received from events held at the facility or complex of facilities that includes a soccer stadium. Requires the capital improvement board to set employment opportunity goals for the construction of the facility or complex of facilities.
AFP  Position: Oppose
Reason: Although AFP-Indiana did not oppose the original version of SB 308, the amended bill to include financing for a new Indianapolis soccer stadium is troublesome. Without any independent study or analysis, supporters of an Indianapolis soccer stadium are seeking to retain tax dollars generated at their place of business for the purposes of financing the construction of a new stadium. Without any guarantee of future revenue, taxpayers are the ones who seem to ultimately hold the risk of this venture. In a free market, consumers (taxpayers) should be the ones making the decision on what is essential to their community. We fear passage of SB 308 in its current form continues the unfortunate precedent started by last year’s similar Indianapolis Motor Speedway legislation.


Tax Exemption for New Personal Property
House Bill 1001
Summary:
Provides that a county income tax council may adopt an ordinance to exempt from property taxation any new business personal property (other than utility personal property) that is located in the county.
AFP Position: Support
Reason: This bill supports Hoosier job creators by encouraging new investment in their businesses by not taxing new personal property. This new investment will lead to job creation and improvement in local economies.
Status: Passed House


Study of Economic Development Incentives
House Bill 1020

Summary: Study of economic development incentives. Requires the commission on state tax and financing policy to review, analyze, and evaluate state and local tax incentives that are provided to encourage economic development or to alter, reward, or subsidize a particular action or behavior by a tax incentive recipient. Requires the use of a five year review schedule. Requires the commission to publish a report before November 1 each year on tax incentives reviewed that year.
AFP Position: Support
Reason:
 This bill encourages transparency and fiscal efficiency of taxpayer funded incentives that are awarded by economic development commissions.
Status: Passed Third Reading; Moves to Senate


Indiana Grown Initiative
House Bill 1039
Summary:
Indiana grown initiative. Establishes the Indiana grown initiative to market and promote Indiana produced agricultural products. Establishes a commission appointed by the secretary of agriculture and rural development. Creates the Indiana grown initiative fund. Makes an appropriation.
AFP Position: Neutral
Reason:
Protecting Hoosier taxpayers is a foundational priority of AFP Indiana. We originally opposed this bill because of a $2 million appropriation for an activity we considered outside the scope of state government. While the creation of an “Indiana Grown Initiative” is questionable, this legislation was amended to remove the $2 million expenditure making it much less harmful.
Status: Passed House; Passed Senate


INDOT Eminent Domain Actions
House Bill 1076
Summary:
Reduces from six to three years the deadline by which the Indiana department of transportation or any other person seeking to acquire property for road construction must file a complaint to acquire the property by the exercise of eminent domain following the rejection of an offer to purchase by the owner of the property. Requires a court to conduct an expedited hearing of the complaint. Provides that a party to the court proceeding is entitled to an expedited appeal of the court’s final ruling under rules to be adopted by the supreme court.
AFP Position: Support
Reason: This bill protects Hoosier taxpayers by decreasing the time and expediting the process of eminent domain disputes between land owners and INDOT.
Status: Passed Third Reading; Moves to the Senate


Environment Rules and Standards
House Bill 1143

Summary: Prohibits the environmental rules board from adopting a rule or standard that is more stringent than the corresponding regulation or standard established under federal law. Makes corresponding changes in the law concerning the adoption of environmental rules.
AFP Position: Support
Reason: 
No state or local environmental rule should exceed federal law. With an aggressive EPA and other federal arms of government issuing more and more regulations, this is a good measure to protect Hoosier business owners and taxpayers. Status: Passed Third Reading; Moves to Senate