Governor, lawmakers face off Wednesday over vote to override veto on tax bill

Bill would restore local taxes in two counties

INDIANAPOLIS - There could be a big political fight Wednesday at the Statehouse when state lawmakers will vote on overriding a veto by Gov. Mike Pence on a bill he calls illegal.

The purpose of lawmakers coming back for a one-day session is to fix bills that were fouled up during the regular session and to vote on overriding any vetoes by the governor.

And it's the one veto override that may cause hard feelings.

Pence vetoed three bills from the 2013 session, but only one is being brought back for a possible override.

It involves an attempt to retroactively legalize the collection of local taxes in Jackson and Pulaski counties that had been allowed to lapse by the legislature.

"I could not support the public policy of retroactive approval of local income taxes," Pence said.

But  critics said Pence was wrong since his own administrators supported the tax bill.

"It shows the governor really had a tough time getting started as governor,” said RTV6 Political Insider Kip Tew. “An executive oughta be more engaged during the legislative session to perhaps influence it before it became law.  And he let it pass while his Revenue Department was pushing for the bill. And then he vetoed his own Revenue Department bill. That's pretty embarrassing."

Pence said he wants to come up with a solution everyone can live with.

He ordered the Budget Agency to stop distributing the illegal tax receipts to the two counties as of last week.  

Both Republican legislative leaders issued critical statements Monday.

"We should move forward with the solution that best serves the interests of Hoosier taxpayers," House Speaker Brian Bosma said.

The conflict highlights ongoing tension between the governor and lawmakers and their failure to work things out on this issue ahead of time, tension that could carry over to next year.

"Normally what happens is that there's a bill that a governor has concerns about, they tend to work those out before it hits the floor, so that when it finally gets there, the problem is taken care of," said Abdul-Hakim Shabazz, RTV6 Political Insider.

Because Indiana has what's known as a weak-governor system in which it only takes a simple majority to override a veto, Pence is not likely to win the fight Wednesday. 

Pence vetoed two other bills which would have increased professional licensing requirements for several professions.

Those vetoes could still be overridden next year.

Follow Norman Cox on Twitter: @normancox6

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