Indiana lawmakers should phase out the state's business personal property tax plan to compete better with neighboring states, Gov. Mike Pence said Tuesday in presenting a broad plan to improve Indiana's job climate and economy.
Pence's plan relies heaving on private sector involvement and investment, including raising billions of dollars in new private investment to help cities attract jobs, businesses and people and calling on private sector partners to create a talent initiative to attract entrepreneurs.
Pence, during a stop at an Indianapolis entrepreneurship center, criticized the property tax as "direct tax on investment" that discourages companies from investing in new technologies and expansion.
Indiana has the 19th highest personal property tax rate per capita in the U.S. Twelve states including Illinois and Ohio have no personal property tax, and Michigan will phase out its tax by 2024. He said Kentucky's tax is lower that Indiana's, which varies by county.
Pence's plan to phase out the tax included few details, and he said there were several options that he wanted the Legislature to consider.
The governor's plan, which he planned to promote during a stop Wednesday in Fort Wayne, also calls for the Indiana Economic Development Corp., the state's business-recruiting agency, to commission an assessment of the state's most productive regional metropolitan areas to determine which quality-of-life improvements would best attract talent and businesses. Pence also wants the agency to assess how to raise billions of dollars in new private investment for cities over the next decade.
In another initiative that relies on private funding, Pence wants private-sector leaders, primarily in the technology and science sectors to create a talent fund that can be used to recruit entrepreneurs to Indiana.
He also wants the state to find ways to improve career and technical education. Indiana spends $115 million on high school-level vocational education, but few students enroll in courses that lead to high-wage, high-demand jobs, he said.
Pence's plan also calls for streamlining the business regulation process to create one-stop permitting and investing $400 million in highway expansion over several years. The highway money would come from Major Moves, the highway fund created by the leading of the Indiana Toll Road.