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The Journal Gazette

Thursday, November 09, 2017 11:50 am

Economist, tax policy leader Styring dies

Journal Gazette

William Styring, a conservative economist who often has been called the architect of former Gov. Otis Bowen's 1973 tax restructuring plan, died Monday, according to media reports The Carmel resident was 72.

Styring was chief of staff for the Indiana House Ways and Means Committee when he shaped legislation to halt fast-rising property taxes. The plan approved by the General Assembly set limits on county property tax rates and levies, doubled the state sales tax rate and allowed counties to enact local option income taxes.

The benefits were short-lived as legislators over the years approved many exemptions to property tax controls. The Indiana Supreme Court declared the state's property assessment methods unconstitutional in 1998, and Gov. Mitch Daniels signed legislation 10 years later that would place constitutionally protected caps on property tax rates.

Styring later was an economist for the Indiana Budget Agency, chairman of the Indiana Revenue Forecast Committee and a vice president of the Indiana Chamber of Commerce. He also worked for the Indiana Policy Review Foundation and the Hudson Institute, a think tank then based in Indianapolis.

"His public service and contributions to conservative economic thought will live on," Vice President Mike Pence said Wednesday in a statement about Styring, with whom he worked when Pence was president of the Indiana Policy Review Foundation in the early 1990s.