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Democrats push for Pence tax cut, GOP blocks move

Updated: March 23, 2013 6:29AM



INDIANAPOLIS — House Minority Leader Scott Pelath and House Democrats tried to force a vote on Gov. Mike Pence’s 10 percent income tax break, but rules prevented the vote from moving forward.

The move was to amend the House Republican’s budget, which leaves out Gov. Pence’s tax cut of $500 million, instead focusing on more funds for education and transportation.

The budget increases K-12 funding by two percent the first year and one percent the second year. It also places $250 million a year into transportation by using all of Indiana’s gas tax revenue on infrastructure.

Pelath, D-Michigan City, had promised there would be a vote before State Rep. Terry Goodin, D-Austin, offered the amendment.

“I am one person that does not want to disappoint the governor,” Goodin said, “and I think it’s worthy of a discussion.”

The vote was prevented by House Bill 1418, with the same language as the amendment offered by Goodin. According to the rules of legislative procedure, “no bill may be amended by annexing it or incorporating with it any other bill pending before the House.”

Pelath admitted the amendment had the same language as the bill, but contended a vote on the governor’s tax cut was important.

“We need to have a vote on Gov. Pence’s signature item,” Pelath said. “I’m a little shocked that no one tried to include this into the budget.”

State Rep. Jerry Torr, R-Carmel, challenged the amendment, but said there could be a vote on the tax cut after the state receives its revenue forecast in April.

“However, this is not a vote on the governor’s tax cut,” Torr said. “This is a vote on our rules.”

Dems’ alternative budget

Indiana Democrats in the House of Representatives offered an alternative budget, embracing Medicaid expansion, restoring $500 million to K-12 education and adding a middle class tax cut for those making less that $200,000. The alternative budget also would provide an option for taxpayers to receive a $100 tax credit for school textbook rental fees.

By expanding Medicaid, Democrats said the budget would provide 30,000 private sector jobs in the health care industry.

The alternative budget was rejected.



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