Indiana Governor Mike Pence experiences his first veto override over a local tax measure

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June 14, 2013


By Josh Altic

INDIANAPOLIS, Indiana: On Wednesday the Indiana legislature overturned one of Pence's three veto's issued this year. With an interesting twist, Republican legislators overwhelmingly voted against the Republican Governor, while most Democrats supported his veto.[1]

In a 68-23 vote in the House and 34-12 vote in the Senate, Indiana lawmakers decided to push a bill that retroactively authorizes a local tax past the Governor's veto.[2] Jackson and Pulaski Counties imposed income taxes 15 years ago to fund the construction of jail facilities, but failed to lower the tax by 1% after the first several years as stipulated. Thus county residents paid an additional 1% tax that they were legally not required to pay. The bill that was passed by a huge majority of legislatures and subsequently vetoed by the Governor, allows that money to be kept and not returned to the taxpayers as would have otherwise been necessary. Now the bill will go forward despite the veto.[3]

Pence’s communications director Christy Denault, said that the Governor “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.”[1]

Republicans argued that the veto itself would be unfair for taxpayers as state taxpayers would have to make up the money spent on calculating refunds to the taxpayers in Jackson and Pulaski counties. The bill also included tax breaks and benefits for veterans and veteran families that many legislators were unwilling to see vetoed. “Sustaining this veto will be a tax increase on the innocent spouses of disabled (and) deceased veterans, a tax increase through no fault of their own,” said Senator Brandt Hershman (R-7). “Sustaining the veto will be a vote against the innocent taxpayers in Pulaski and Jackson counties who still regardless of our action here ... have to fund a jail.”[1]