The Washington Times-Herald

Columns

December 28, 2013

Business tax cut poor idea for middle income Hoosiers

Many years and a couple of comm- unities ago I knew a beautiful young woman. We would flirt and talk. I gave her gifts and money. Everything seemed to be in place for a budding relationship, but each time I tired to make a date, something came up. Nothing ever happened. I wound up poorer and eventually came to realize I was being played for a sap.

I tell this story because Indiana’s lawmakers are once again flirting with big business in front of this year’s legislative session. The governor is proposing a massive tax cut by eliminating the personal property tax on business. The idea is that this will become the beginning of a beautiful relationship that will provide thousands of new, high paying jobs.

Of course this is a tale we’ve heard before. Over the last couple of decades Indiana has eliminated the Inventory Tax, repealed the Prevailing Wage law, introduced tax caps, and Right to Work laws. All of it as a way to woo those beautiful jobs to Indiana.

State officials claim those moves are working in finally seducing business leaders to develop a relationship that can benefit all Hoosiers.

They point out that Indiana is consistently ranked in the top five of states for business development. They run around the world trying to land the next big thing. The problem is that despite all of these changes the people who live here are not seeing the fruits of those sacrifices.

The numbers actually show the opposite is happening. In 1992, Indiana ranked 29th in per capita income. A decade later it was 33rd. In 2012 Indiana was 39th. Hoosiers’ average per capita income is now $36,902 compared to a national average of $42,693. Two decades of tax breaks and giveaways have only left average residents in this state poorer.

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