At the statehouse: LGBT bill to come for a vote next week…GOP wants income tax cut to offset rises in gas and cigarette taxes


LGBT BILL

Senate leader says LGBT rights bill to be called for a vote

Indiana Senate President Pro Tem David Long is indicating a bill to extend civil rights to gay, lesbian and bisexual — but not transgender — people will be taken up by the full chamber, even if there’s not enough to support for it to pass.

Long made the remarks during a Thursday news conference after a Senate committee he chairs approved the bill late Wednesday.

The Fort Wayne Republican says he won’t pressure Senators to vote any particular way. But he says the discussion must be held, especially after last year’s religious objections law drew widespread and mostly negative attention to the state.

Long says a separate Senate bill to establish transgender civil rightswas not voted on because it’s too contentious.

INDIANA ROADS SPENDING

Future income tax cut added to Indiana road funding plan

A future 5 percent cut in Indiana’s individual income tax rates is being added to a legislative proposal that would boost gasoline and cigarette taxes to increase road funding.

The House Ways and Means Committee voted 14-7 Thursday to advance the Republican-backed plan to the full House. The proposal has faced criticism from conservative groups for adding an estimated 4 cents to the gas tax and $1 to the per-pack cigarette tax.

The plan now would also gradually reduce the state income tax from next year’s rate of 3.23 percent to 3.06 percent in 2024.

Committee Democrats opposed the change, saying it would force more reliance on less-stable sales tax revenue.

Republican Governor Mike Pence has opposed the House GOP plan, saying tax increases aren’t needed to boost road funding.