Senate Bill 563 (Economic Development), authored by Sen. Travis Holdman (R-Markle), passed the Senate 45-4 on Monday. It contains the long-standing Indiana Chamber priority of making the venture capital investment credit transferable. Another aspect of significance is the change to how service providers’ income tax liability is determined. The change, generally speaking, will benefit companies that sell their services to out-of-state customers, avoid double taxing of income and remove a disincentive to companies locating in Indiana. Another notable provision will help small businesses obtain research assistance from universities. The bill also makes a number of additional useful refinements and modest expansions to existing tax credits – all designed to make our economic development tools more effective.
Senate Bill 460 (Broadband Development), authored by Sen. Mark Messmer (R-Jasper), was voted out of the Senate unanimously. The Chamber supports this amended bill that will promote a higher level of broadband deployment in underserved portions of the state. The expansion of broadband is critical to long-term economic development but must be done with as little regulation as possible and in a manner that treats all industry players on a level playing field. Previously, the bill was amended to remove Chamber-opposed langague that may have subjected telecommunication stakeholders, which are exempt under federal regulations, to Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission regulations.
House Bill 1181 (Asbestos Litigation), authored by Rep. Matt Lehman (R-Berne), cleared the House 59-39. This is an Indiana Chamber priority bill and would bring needed transparency to the legal process. It does not stop anyone from bringing suit against a company they believe caused exposure to asbestos. What the bill does do is allow a jury to have all the information to make an informed decision. We will turn our attention to the Senate, where the bill previously met its demise in the Senate Civil Law Committee, whose makeup favors trial lawyers who are opposed to this legislation. The Chamber will continue to push for action.