Pelath calls income tax cut 'gag gift'

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The battle over Gov. Mike Pence's proposed 10 percent cut in the state income tax is coming down to the wire and a legislative leader predicted Friday that the governor will fall short of his goal.

House Minority Leader Scott Pelath doesn't dismiss the tax cut.

"If you're going to cut taxes," he said, "Mike Pence's way is the better way to do it."

His comparison is to GOP legislative plans that focus on cutting the inheritance tax.

Nevertheless, Pelath would rather see more state spending than a tax cut and he expressed amusement at how state Senate Republicans passed a smaller 3-percent cut.

'The Senate super majority, I think,  presented him with what I would call a gag gift," said Pelath.

His comment comes a day after House Speaker Brian Bosma indicated that support for the governor's plan is lacking on his side of the Statehouse.

"Caution is the right word," said Bosma. "It's a yellow flag still for us. We're going to be sure that in the long haul Indiana maintains its fiscally strong position."

Meanwhile the governor picked up some outside help Friday from the Tea Party group Americans for Prosperity. Their latest TV ad will hit the air next week as lawmakers wrap up budget negotiations.

"That's our money and Governor Pence believes we deserve some of it back," the ad says.

Yet Pelath thinks he knows how this ends.

"If one of the Houses decides to embrace the Pence tax cut proposal," he said, "I think that will be a surprise, be a surprise to me."

He's got a pretty good vantage point.

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