Governor Pence proposes tax cuts, more spending

December 5th, 2013 at 3:07 pm by under Jim Shella's Political Blog

Mike Pence wants new tax cuts.

The GOP governor unveiled much of his agenda for the 2014 General Assembly in a speech to a legislative conference Thursday.
He includes tax cuts for business and individuals but, so far, no price tag.

Pence chose to reveal an ambitious agenda in front of a bi-partisan audience of Statehouse insiders at a legislative conference.  His appearance began with lunch alongside John Gregg, the Democrat he defeated in 2012.

On stage he called for an unspecified phase out of a tax that applies to equipment used by manufacturers.

“I believe the time has come to phase out the business personal property tax in the state of Indiana,” he said, “to spur new investment and growth.”

It’s a move that would wipe out almost a billion dollars in tax revenues that now go to local communities, and that had some listeners scratching their heads.

“If he wants to do that,” said Rep. Greg Porter (D-Indianapolis,) “we just have to.. I don’t know where the money’s gonna come from.”

But after the speech the governor indicated that he is looking for other sources for the money in what could amount to a tax swap.

“I think what we’re calling for, Jim, is really tax reform here,” he said in response to a question, “and looking at the tax code and saying how can we simply make Indiana more attractive for the kind of investment that will create jobs.”

The governor also proposed more spending including a new voucher system for early childhood education.

“I believe the time has come for Indiana to provide access to pre-K education for all the disadvantaged children in our state,” he said in his prepared remarks.

Again, there was no price tag supplied.  But the governor got a warm reception nonetheless.

Governor Pence also called for higher state tax exemptions for individuals.  That translates to a tax cut.
And more highway spending, $400 million worth.

It’s an agenda that will take more than a year to accomplish and it sends the message that he intends to be more of an activist governor than many of his critics anticipated.

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