County tax revenue clarity bill advances

January 20th, 2016

News Coverage:

January 20, 2016 1:03 AM

County tax revenue clarity bill advances

Niki Kelly | The Journal Gazette

INDIANAPOLIS – An Allen County transparency bill passed committee Tuesday and now heads to the full House. 

Rep. Casey Cox, R-Fort Wayne, authored House Bill 1040, which would require the Indiana Department of Revenue to separate out how much revenue is reaped from the Allen County food and beverage tax per municipality and in the unincorporated areas of the county.

The money goes to the Allen County Capital Improvement Board, and local officials can request money for projects.

“Seeing where those dollars are coming from will better allow them to gauge when to give to new projects,” Cox said.

New Haven Mayor Terry McDonald testified that knowing how much money is specifically collected inside the city limits will make requests to the board more fair and equitable.

The bill passed 10-1. Rep. Gail Riecken, D-Evansville, was the only no vote though she said it sounded like a good idea and couldn’t explain her opposition.

Senate approves local road money

The Indiana Senate approved $430 million in local road funding Tuesday.

The body voted 49-1 – with all northeast senators in support – of Senate Bill 67, authored by Sen. Brandt Hershman, R-Buck Creek.

The money is a one-time infusion from a reserve account of local option income taxes paid in the counties but held in trust by the state. Over time, excess balances have grown, and Hershman said it is advisable to release the money now.

At least 75 percent of the cash must go to either infrastructure or a rainy day fund.

Allen County would reap more than $5 million, and Fort Wayne would get $7.7 million under the bill, which now heads to the House.

Senate rejects sheep, goat hunts

Senators turned back an attempt Tuesday to ban the hunting of certain wild sheep and goats at captive hunting facilities.

Sen. Mark Stoops, D-Bloomington, offered an amendment that would have removed a provision allowing these species to be hunted at high-fenced facilities along with deer.

He said it’s already happening since an Indiana court decision rendered the controversial practice legal in Indiana. But lawmakers have the power to ban it.

“Sheep don’t move too fast,” said Stoops, while he questioned the legitimacy of shooting sheep and goats in penned areas.

Rep. Mark Messmer, R-Jasper, author of Senate Bill 109, said the bill refers to certain species of mountain goat and long-horned sheep. He noted that if someone books a three-day hunt and gets a deer on the first day they need something else to hunt.

The amendment was defeated on a voice vote, meaning no tally was taken of specific senators’ votes.

The bill is set for a full vote this week. The legislation in general sets up some basic regulations on captive hunting.