Two Evansville leaders speak out against Gov. Pence's proposed t - 14 News, WFIE, Evansville, Henderson, Owensboro

Two Evansville leaders speak out against Gov. Pence's proposed tax plan

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INDIANAPOLIS, IN (WFIE) -

Governor Mike Pence delivered his second State of the State address in Indianapolis on Tuesday. 

In his speech, he made another push to cut the state's business personal property tax. It's a plan at least two Evansville leaders from opposing parties are very much against.

Pence says it's a tax that makes it harder for Indiana businesses to grow, but city leaders say without that tax revenue there could be a drastic cut to city services.

Within minutes of taking the podium, Governor Mike Pence made it clear he wants taxes on business equipment to be cut.

"Taxing equipment and technology in a state that leads the nation in making and creating things just doesn't make sense," Pence said in his address.

The governor says phasing out the tax would attract new business and spur new investment in communities across the state.  

But some Evansville city leaders believe it would be at the expense of those communities.

"It could affect the quality of public safety. It could affect the quality of green space and parks in communities and businesses what all that when they're looking to relocate," Evansville Mayor Lloyd Winnecke says.

Both Winnecke and City Council President John Friend spoke out against the governor's plan in Indianapolis on Tuesday. The mayor says without that tax revenue, Evansville stands to lose $7.3 million a year.

"If you walked in and said, 'Mayor, we have to cut $7.3 million from your budget,' I don't know how we'd do it without layoffs," Winnecke says.

After an outcry from local leaders, House Republicans drafted another plan that would give counties the choice of whether to eliminate the tax. But Friend says that would only create an economic battle between counties.

"Imagine Vanderburgh County, Posey, Warrick and Gibson kind of working in unison to bring in investment into southwestern Indiana and then all of a sudden one county has it, the other doesn't," Friend says.

The senate is also drafting its own bill that could be debated during this session of the general assembly.

The other hot topic Pence addressed was same-sex marriage. He says the debate over whether to amend the state's constitution to ban gay marriage should be decided once and for all this year.
     
He says voters should decide the matter in November. 

To read Pence's speech, click here.

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