INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana lawmakers easily reversed Gov. Mike Pence's veto of a local tax measure Wednesday, delivering their first veto override of the new governor during a special one-day meeting of the General Assembly.
The House of Representatives voted 68-23 and the Senate voted 34-12 to override the governor on a tax measure Jackson and Pulaski County officials said was needed to authorize taxes they had already been collecting to pay for the construction of jails.
Pence wrote to lawmakers Monday asking them to sustain his veto of retroactively implementing local income taxes for the counties. But Senate President Pro Tem David Long, R-Fort Wayne, and House Speaker Brian Bosma, R-Indianapolis, pushed the override, saying the bill corrects a tax mistake overlooked by the state and local officials.
"I thinks it's a constitutional action by the Legislature implementing what we thought was the better solution," Long said, following the Senate vote. "The governor had his own idea about that, we respectfully disagreed and we overrode his veto."
Pence spokeswoman Christy Denault repeated the governor's assertion that taxpayers should not pay taxes that "are not owed."
"Governor Pence stands by his veto and regrets that it was not upheld by the Indiana General Assembly today," Denault said in a statement. "While this bill contained some positive provisions, the governor believes that when Hoosiers pay taxes that are not owed, they should be offered relief. Hoosiers can be assured that Governor Pence and his administration will continue to put taxpayers first."
State lawmakers first approved marginal local income tax increases in 1998 to pay for the taxes but failed to approve the continuation of the tax in later years. The Indiana Department of Revenue, meanwhile, kept collecting the taxes and redistributing them to the counties.