Pence urges lawmakers to uphold tax bill veto

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Indiana Gov. Mike Pence is asking lawmakers to keep from handing him his first veto override.

Pence sent a letter to legislators on Monday urging to uphold his veto of a local tax measure. The measure retroactively approves taxes collected by Jackson and Pulaski counties to pay for new jails.

Pence says the measure amounts to a tax increase. But House and Senate leaders have taken the side of local officials who say the measure corrects a mistake made more than six years ago.

The General Assembly is scheduled to reconvene Wednesday to consider Pence's veto and technical corrections to some other measures. Lawmakers need only muster a simple majority in both the House and Senate to overturn a governor's veto.

Statement from Senate President David Long:

"I appreciate the Governor's thoughtful input on HEA 1546, but respectfully disagree with his proposed course of action. After consulting with residents and elected officials in the two affected counties, the Senate leadership team believes HEA 1546 provides a proper solution that has local support. When you also factor in the other positive elements of the bill, including help for Hoosier veterans and their surviving spouses, we believe HEA 1546 should stand as passed. Either way, the General Assembly will determine on Wednesday the ultimate course of action the state will take on this issue."

Statement from Speaker Bosma:

"We appreciate Governor Pence's thoughts on the proposed veto override of HEA 1546. Over the past few weeks, we have been in close consultation with the Governor and with local officials in Jackson and Pulaski County and have determined that the best and most cost-effective course of action for Hoosier taxpayers is to enact the provisions of HEA 1546 notwithstanding the Governor's veto.

"Residents and elected officials in Jackson and Pulaski Counties have asked for the legislature's assistance to address the issues affecting thousands of Hoosiers in those counties, and to continue the allocation of pledged funds toward their designated obligations. It is also important to note that the bill addresses a number of other important tax issues, including making it easier for an out-of-state business to help with disaster emergency relief here in Indiana and benefits for the surviving spouse of a deceased veteran.

"I appreciate his thoughtful comments and look forward to continued conversation with the Governor; however, at this point, we should move forward with the solution that best serves the interests of Hoosier taxpayers."

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