Tax Hikes, Court Decisions & Climate Change – Open Item
I have tried to find a theme for all the different stories making news today and it is just impossible. One possible theme is tax increases. A pair of local Indiana boards approved measures that could or will increase taxes.
First up, Allen County has higher taxes on the way thanks to a decision by the Fort Wayne City Council. Dan Stockman reports in the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette that council passed a combination of income tax increases, property tax credits and new property taxes. Because Allen County income taxes are set by the Allen County Income Tax Council where Fort Wayne holds 70% of the vote, any decision by the city council ultimately impacts the entire county. Only City Councilmen Mitch Harper (R-4) and Russ Jehl (R-2) voted against the tax increase.
The other tax news focuses on Indianapolis commission investigating the homestead tax credit and whether it should be repealed. Jon Murray reports in the Indianapolis Star‘s Deep Fried Politics blog that the Local Homestead Credit Review Commission voted 6-4 Monday night to repeal the tax credit. During the course of the meeting, City-County Councillor Robert Lutz (R) pushed for the commission to hold roll call votes rather than the originally planned secret ballot. Lutz joined the minority in voting to repeal the credit.
On the national front there are more things going on than we can possibly cover. President Barack Obama unveiled his climate change attack plan, generating responses from all quarters. Hoosier Republicans in Congress as well as Governor Mike Pence have all issued statements criticizing Obama’s decision. Pence’s statement:
The President’s proposed carbon dioxide regulations will have a significant and detrimental impact on states like Indiana that rely on coal for reliable, affordable electricity. These regulations will increase the cost of electricity on Hoosier families and businesses at a time when our economy can least afford it. Instead of driving up the cost of energy, the President should be focused on creating jobs. We need an all of the above energy strategy that uses coal, wind, solar, nuclear and natural gas to meet our energy needs. These proposed regulations are inconsistent with an all of the above strategy.
Senator Dan Coats and other members of the delegation all issued statements criticizing the president for focusing on efforts that will increase the cost of energy instead of finding ways to promote job growth. For some key takeaways from Obama’s speech, check out Washington Post reporter Juliet Eilperin’s piece in The Fix.
Yesterday also marked the Supreme Court’s decision to effectively repeal significant portions of the Voting Rights Act. These changes make the current process that implements reviews of the election districts in specific states, counties and local jurisdictions that have a history of disenfranchising voters based on race. The Washington Post‘s Chris Clizza writes in The Fix about how this Supreme Court decision will impact politics without these sections of the Voting Rights Act.
Later today we can look forward to big decisions on the federal Defense of Marriage Act and California’s Prop 8 which restricted marriage in the state to a man and a woman.
Texas made the national news as the final hours of their legislative session were marked by a filibuster that concluded with disruptions from the gallery. Those disruptions effectively prevented the Texas Senate from voting on landmark legislation designed to make abortion clinics across the state safer for women. Erick Erickson has the whole story at Red State where he encourages Governor Rick Perry to call the legislature back into another special session to get this important pro-life bill passed into law.
In other local news – the Indiana Supreme Court ruled that parenting time is a decision that must be made separate from child support. According to Dan Carden of The Times of Northwest Indiana, this decision was a repudiation of a Johnson County court decision that required a father to give up any time with the child in exchange for the mother assuming full support of the child. Another report from The Times, this one from Joseph Pete, indicates Midwest steel production increased by 17,000 tons, which is good news given that year to date steel production nationwide is down by 2% over the same period last year.
As always, we invite you to share your thoughts on these or any other issues of the day in the comments section below.