GREENFIELD — A local recreational vehicle dealer is applauding proposed legislation he says could bring more business and potentially create jobs in Hancock County if approved.
Two nearly identical bills would exempt out-of-state RV buyers from paying sales tax in both Indiana and their home state, a proposal Indiana dealers, including Mount Comfort RV in Greenfield, say will help their business.
Rep. Robert Cherry, R-Greenfield, and Sen. Blake Doriot, R-Syracuse, have proposed two separate bills that would waive Indiana sales tax for all out-of-state RV buys who make a purchase in Indiana. Under current law, only residents in 41 states are exempt from paying sales tax here because their home state offers a similar exemption to Indiana residents.
The proposal, however, faces challenges. A study from the Legislative Service Agency, which calculates the economic impact bills would have on the state, showed Indiana could miss out on $2.6 million in taxes next year if the bill is passed.
But the current law hurts Hoosier RV dealers, business owners say, because residents in states that are charged local state taxes — Arizona, California, Florida, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, North Carolina and South Carolina — choose to buy their RVs in other states.
Cherry — who penned his bill after talking with Mount Comfort RV employees about ways the state can help business there — plans to help push Doriot’s bill, which is already making its way through a Senate committee, through the House instead of carrying his own since they’re nearly identical.
The proposal would help RV dealers across the state capture sales they might be losing out on, which will boost Indiana’s economy, Cherry said.
The RV industry already employs some 22,000 Hoosiers, a recent study from the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association showed, and the proposal could create more jobs if business picks up, Cherry said.
Ken Eckstein, owner of Mount Comfort RV, which has operated in Hancock County since 2011 and employs 35 people, said his business faces a disadvantage under current law because other states exempt all buyers from paying local sales tax.
Many of Mount Comfort RV’s sales are completed online, Eckstein said, and when a dealer from another state such as Ohio offers buyers a cheaper price thanks to the sales tax exemption, his business misses out.
He cited an industry survey that showed Indiana lost more than 600 RV purchases to Ohio from residents living in the nine states not currently exempt from Indiana’s sales tax.
That could create 30 to 40 jobs around the state, Eckstein said, and more local sales could allow the dealer to create additional jobs here and across the state.