Government News

Indiana and Agree to Sales Tax Deal

Jan 9, 2012

Indiana’s Department of Revenue estimates the state will generate an additional $20-to-$25-million because of a new deal. agreed to collect Indiana sales taxes for purchases made through the online retailer.

Paul Meisner is the company’s Vice President of Global Public Policy.

He says the next step is the Federal Government taking similar action.

The state DOR reports Indiana loses about $75-million annually by not collecting online sales taxes.

The deal with Amazon begins in two-years, unless a federal law takes effect sooner.

For the third day in a row, Democrats prevented the House from doing business by staying off the floor. 

The holdout is over Right to Work legislation, which bans union contracts from requiring non-union employees pay fees for representation.  With their third consecutive day of absence, House Democrats could now be fined up to one thousand dollars each day under an anti-bolting statute passed last session.  Speaker Brian Bosma says he hasn’t taken the necessary legal step to level the fines yet.

Right to Work took its first step towards passage Friday as a committee passed it to the Senate floor. 

A joint House and Senate committee met for more than five hours, hearing testimony on both sides of the controversial issue.  Right to Work legislation bans union contracts that require non-union employees pay fees for representation.

State Senator Carlin Yoder (R-Middlebury), the bill’s sponsor, says the issue boils down to whether Right to Work is good for Indiana

A short-term loan might be needed to help a West Lafayette tax increment finance (TIF) district meet its obligations.

The Sagamore TIF has roughly $15,000 after a payment was made for the Yeager Road construction.

Redevelopment Commission President Larry Oates says that’s not enough to pay future bills. He says the commission will decide on borrowing from another TIF later this month, until the county distributes tax collections.

A local group fighting against proposed Right-To-Work legislation is calling for more input on the issue.

Lafayette Working Families is holding a news conference at 3 p.m. Friday at the Tippecanoe County Courthouse to encourage legislators to hold statewide hearings on the proposed bill.

Republican Randy Truitt supports Right-To-Work and says there is benefit to these types of information sessions, but adds that with the session underway, those events will delay progress.

House Democrats are trying to stall voting on the measure by preventing a quorum.

Legislators are hoping a statewide smoking ban will finally get through the Indiana Senate by limiting exceptions to the rule in the 2012 version of the bill.

Only three entities would be exempt from the smoking ban: gaming floors; cigar or hookah bars currently in existence; and existing social clubs whose membership votes every two years to allow smoking. A statewide smoking ban has been passed out of the Indiana House for five consecutive years only to fail in the Senate. 

Lafayette looks at licensing electricians

Jan 5, 2012

Electricians in Lafayette could soon need a license to operate.

An ordinance with that requirement for all electrical workers is scheduled to appear before council members next week.

City Engineer Jenny Miller says the move would increase safety for Lafayette residents. She thinks it won’t be hard for established electricians to get licensed, if they have the necessary experience.

Miller says substandard work her office has come across is the reason for requiring a license .

Indiana Democrats failed to show for the House of Representatives session that was called at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday. Republicans were in attendance, but Democrats were in caucus on the third floor of the statehouse, which began around noon.

House Democratic leader Pat Bauer said at a press conference Democrats will not attend session until they have assurances that right to work legislation will not be “railroaded” through the legislature. Bauer says the public needs time to give their input and to be educated on the issue.

Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels has reversed a decision to limit the number of people allowed in the Statehouse.

The occupancy of the Capitol was set at 3,000 people, which includes staff and lawmakers.

Daniels says complaints the limit would hinder public access to the democratic process led to the decision. However, he says public safety is an issue and if problems come up, the state police will handle the situation.

Judge: IN Secretary of State White can stay

Jan 4, 2012

A Marion county judge says Indiana’s secretary of state can remain in office for the time being.

Judge Louis Rosenberg ruled Republican Charlie White was not an eligible candidate when he ran for office in 2010. However, Rosenberg ruled Wednesday morning White can keep his office until all appeals are exhausted.

Democrats argued he should be removed immediately before he can resign or is found guilty in a criminal case related to voter fraud. In either situation, Governor Mitch Daniels would be able to appoint a successor.