Indiana legislature votes to override Pence veto on tax bill


Indiana lawmakers have handily reversed Governor Mike Pence's veto of a local tax measure.

The House of Representatives voted 68-23 and the Senate voted 34-12 Wednesday afternoon to override Pence's veto. Wednesday's vote marked the first override of Pence.

Lawmakers were back at the Statehouse to vote on the measure, marking the first time the legislature has convened on technical corrections day since legislation was passed in 1995 allowing for the General Assembly to convene to address technical corrections and to override vetoes.

Pence wrote to lawmakers Monday asking them to sustain his veto of retroactively implementing local income taxes for Pulaski and Jackson counties. But Republican Senate President Pro Tem David Long and Republican House Speaker Brian Bosma pushed the override, saying the bill corrects a mistake by the state.

Pence spokeswoman Christy Denault repeated the governor's assertion that taxpayers should not pay taxes that "are not owed."

The tax vote split along party lines in the House with Democrats siding with Pence and Republicans lining up behind Bosma in opposition.

The bill addresses a number of tax issues, most notably the LOIT for Jackson and Pulaski counties, as well as providing benefits for surviving spouses of deceased veterans and making it easier for an out-of-state business to help with disaster emergency relief in Indiana.

Local officials from Jackson and Pulaski Counties came to the Statehouse to encourage the General Assembly override the veto.

"If there was another feasible solution to the Jackson and Pulaski County Local Option Income Tax (LOIT) issues we certainly would have taken that path. However, considering the expense and unwieldiness of the administrative solution presented, and with residents and elected officials in both counties asking for the legislature's assistance to address the override, we needed to return to the Statehouse and provide these counties with an immediate solution," said Speaker Brian Bosma.

Pence wrote a letter to lawmakers Monday asking them to sustain his veto, saying the measure amounts to a tax increase. 

"Governor Pence stands by his veto, and regrets that it was not upheld by the Indiana General Assembly today. While this bill contained some positive provisions, the Governor believes that when Hoosiers pay taxes that are not owed, they should be offered relief. Hoosiers can be assured that Governor Pence and his administration will continue to put taxpayers first," the governor's office said in a statement.

A simple majority of at least 51 representatives and 26 senators is all that is needed to overturn a veto.