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That’s a Session

Indiana lawmakers wrapped up the 2014 Legislative Session finalizing and voting on a number of issues including early childhood education, mass transit for Indianapolis, road funding and the business personal property tax repeal.  The following is list of the major bills lawmakers passed on the last day of session and are now on their way to the Governor’s desk…

Business Personal Property Tax

  • A county can choose to eliminate the tax on all new personal property.
  • Gives local governments several options to offer “super abatements” for businesses which means a local unit can offer an extended personal property tax abatement for up to 20 years.
  • A county can choose to exempt all businesses with less than $20,000 in personal property.
  • It would continue to lower the state’s corporate income tax to 4.9% over six years.
  • It would create a study commission to look at Indiana’s overall tax structure.

Pre-K Vouchers

  • Compromise on pre-K pilot voucher program says $10 million total. 10-50% from outside sources. Vouchers amounts from $2,500 – $6,800 per child.  Up to 4,500 children could benefit.
  • It would take place in 5 counties.
  • To be eligible a family of four could not make more than $30,000.
  • A commission studying the impact of pre-K would also be created.

Mass Transit

  • No light rail or corporate income tax in final mass transit deal. Also 10% of mass transit dollars can’t come from fares or local sources.
  • A 501(C)(3) would be created allowing businesses to get a tax break for donating to mass transit.  Other charitable foundations could also make donations.

Road Funding

  • $400 million would be allocated to the old Major Moves road fund from the general transportation fund.  $200 million would be transferred in the first year.  The second $200 million would be transferred only after a review by the State Budget committee.

Criminal Justice Reform

  • Changing the felony classification system from four to six levels, creating better proportionality in criminal sentencing.
  • Creating more certain sentences for offenders by reducing credit time.
  • Giving judges and prosecutors more discretion to sanction low-level offenders in local programs instead of sending them to prison.
  • Allowing the Department of Correction to transfer funds to local probation and community corrections programs if the sentencing reforms lead to a shift from state prisons to local programs.

The Governor and four legislative leaders will hold news conferences tomorrow giving their assessment of the 2014 session.