The Indiana General Assembly overrode a Mike Pence veto Wednesday. Never before has the legislature called a special veto session to undo an action taken by this, or any other, Indiana governor. Lawmakers, led by the governor’s fellow Republicans, sent the message today that they make up an equal branch of government.
It took most of the day for lawmakers to meet in private, form a plan, and then carry it out in both the House and Senate where first, the governor’s veto message was read to them. “If Hoosiers owe taxes they should pay them,” said Pence in the written message, “but when Hoosiers pay taxes that are not owed they deserve relief and the legislation does not meet that standard.”
It’s in reference to a bill that retroactively approved the collection of local income taxes in two Indiana counties where officials simply forgot to renew authorization. Republicans pushed for the override. “I believe, and I think many others do as well,” said Rep. Eric Turner (R-Cicero,) “that the same local taxpayers would end up paying more taxes in the future.”
Democrats fought in favor of the GOP governor. “Condoning the unlawful collection of taxes,” said Rep. Pat Bauer (D-South Bend,) “is a terrible precedent.”
The House vote was 68-to-23 to override the veto and then it was all repeated in the Senate where the vote was 34-to-12.
Afterward the Republican leader in the Senate lawmakers will still work with the governor. “On this one we had a disagreement,” said Sen. David Long, “and we thought a pragmatic solution was needed.”
This was a meaningful and public defeat for a governor who clearly still has some things to learn about negotiations with the General Assembly. Mike Pence, meantime, made no public appearances Wednesday. The only comment from the governor’s office came from his communications director who said that Mike Pence will continue to put taxpayers first.