CHICAGO — Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, who is ending his first year in office, said last week that eliminating the business personal property tax will be one of his top legislative priorities in 2014.
Pence, a Republican, said erasing the tax will boost the state's already business-friendly reputation.
"I believe the way we tax and how we tax is a centerpiece of our ability to compete and attract investment and good-paying jobs to Indiana," Pence said in an address outlining his 2014 priorities at law firm's Bingham Greenebaum Doll LLP's annual legislative conference.
"I truly do believe that by phasing out the business personal property tax in the state of Indiana we will ensure that Indiana remains in the very forefront of the competition to attract new investment and jobs."
The move would leave a $1 billion gap in revenue that goes to local governments and schools.
Ohio and Illinois have already eliminated the personal property tax — most of which goes to fund local governments — and Michigan is contemplating the move.
A municipal advocacy group said the cut would mean a big hit to some communities. Whiting, Ind., for example, where BP has an oil refinery, would suffer a 60% drop in revenue, according to a report in the Indianapolis Star.
Pence also said he wants to try to drum up $400 million in road funding for "the next era of highway expansion."
The governor's other priorities include eliminating most licensing requirements for occupations, cutting farm land taxes and promoting individual investments in start-up businesses.
He also supports a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage.
On the education front, he said he will push legislators next year to craft bills that would set up a fund that would compensate public school teachers who want to leave for charter schools or under-performing public schools. He also wants to make it easier for charter school companies to set up new schools and allow the state to take over failing schools more quickly.