New law punts vote to counties; local officials wary of lowering revenue




GREENFIELD — Though it could be a new tool to draw businesses to Hancock County, local officials don’t have plans yet to eliminate the tax on equipment for corporations.

County council members and economic development officials are just beginning to sort out what the state Legislature’s decision last week on business taxes could mean for Hancock County.

While the elimination could make the county more attractive for economic growth, elected officials also want to keep revenue flowing into government coffers. Because the Legislature left it up to each county to decide in 2015, local officials are beginning to weigh the options.

Reducing taxes on businesses was a top goal of Gov. Mike Pence and one of the more prominent topics of the second half of the legislative session.

While Pence originally wanted to eliminate the state’s tax on business equipment, local leaders – including several town councils in Hancock County – opposed the measure because the tax provides critical revenues. In the end, the Legislature decided to gradually reduce the corporate income tax and state banking tax to 4.9 percent and then let local governments decide whether to cut the business equipment tax. The bill has yet to be signed into law by the governor.

Now, Hancock County officials are not exactly sure what to do, but one thing is certain: They aren’t going to move quickly to cut the tax.

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