Complicating matters more are local concerns that the GOP-controlled Legislature will follow Republican Gov. Mike Pence’s direction when it convenes Monday and eliminate the business personal property tax – a source of nearly $1 billion a year in local funding.
“If we keep losing revenue while having these unfunded mandates dropped on us, we just can’t keep providing the services we need to provide,” said Boone County Sheriff Ken Campbell, president-elect of sheriffs’ association.
Another unknown cost: The law changes “good behavior” credits for serious offenders serving prison time. Most will have to serve 75 percent of their sentence to be eligible for those credits – up from 50 percent.
Senate Judiciary Chairman Brent Steele of Bedford, the influential Republican who co-authored the sentencing reform, said longer sentences won’t hit prisons with added costs all at once. Steele said he sees no need for a delay.
Meanwhile, pressure is mounting to toughen sentences for those who’ve committed violent crimes and for sex offenders.
Republican Sen. Randy Head of Logansport, who is calling for mandatory sentences for sex offenders, said he would vote to delay. “It’s better to take our time and do it right, then to get it done in a hurry just for the sake of saying we did it,” he said.