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Wednesday, June 04, 2014

Ind. Gov't. - Governor's Tax Competitiveness and Simplification Conference on June 24 is by invitation only

I saw a post on Twitter this afternoon from reporter Maureen Hayden: "Gov Pence's pro-business tax conference in June bars public from attending. Speaker list released today."

Here is the agenda.

As it turns out, the subscription-only weekly newletter, Indiana Legislative Insight, reported in its May 12 issue on the plans; here are some quotes from the front-page story, reprinted by permission:

Some June tax confab details: Invitation-only event now taking shape

In early April, Governor Mike Pence (R) revealed that he would be hosting the Indiana Tax Competitiveness and Simplification Conference on June 24, a conference aimed at gathering ideas to help strengthen, make more competitive, and simplify state business and personal tax laws. * * *

Gov. Pence was particularly enamored with leaning on outside sources to offer Hoosiers “new and fresh ideas and best practices from other states around the country.”

We’ve learned a bit more about the session, which will be an invitation-only event limited to around 125 attendees, and while potential speakers are being told that “We welcome all thoughts and are trying to create a politically neutral environment for ideas (as much as that is possible in today’s world),” the conference intends to lean heavily for input upon those representing a few entities that many Hoosiers would probably describe as the elite or establishment, and Democrats would likely lament as serving up largely a conservative business perspective.

Invitations from the Indiana Department of Revenue expand on the Governor’s own call, explaining that the event will be “focused on discussing ways in which Indiana’s tax code can be simplified and made more competitive in terms of attracting and keeping businesses, as well as promoting job growth.”

The conference will be recorded and downloadable from the Department of Revenue website. Revenue is encouraging anyone (speakers an the general public) to submit “ideas, thoughts, suggestions, white papers, etc.,”and plans to make the documents publicly available on a website created for the conference. * * *

Following the event, staff plans to compile and organize the conference discussions and submitted ideas into a comprehensive document that will be presented to the Governor and the General Assembly. “Our hope is that the administration and the legislature will then work together in upcoming legislative sessions to enact sound tax policies,” Revenue staffers explain to invitees.

Among the “silos” to be represented at the event: academics (among those who have been invited are Indiana University property tax and local government finance expert Prof. John Mikesell, Ball State University economist Mike Hicks, and Indiana University McKinney School of Law Prof. Larry Jegen, retiring from his post after educating generations of Hoosier lawyers about the intricacies of the tax code); national think tanks (including the conservative-leaning Tax Foundation — at whose award event the conference was unveiled by the Guv; the Mercatus Center at George Mason University — whose research focuses on how markets solve problems; the conservative American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC); and others); and practitioners and stakeholders. These two categories will encompass large local law firms; large CPA firms; state and local officials; the Indiana Chamber of Commerce and Indiana Manufacturers Association, and others. Individual subject-matter experts will also be among those invited to participate.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on June 4, 2014 03:38 PM
Posted to Indiana Government