Pence Agenda Includes Tax Cut

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Governor Mike Pence is calling for the phase out of the business personal property tax. He believes it will help spur new investment and growth in the state. It's a key element of his 2014 legislative agenda, which was unveiled yesterday. The Governor also wants to set aside $400 million for highway projects and establish a pre-kindergarten program for low income families. House Democratic Leader Scott Pelath (D-9) says Pence's plan is "not all bad," but believes public classrooms are forgotten in the education proposals and also questions how new spending will fall in line with the Governor's reputation as a fiscal conservative. Governor Mike Pence's 2014 'Roadmap'

INCREASING PRIVATE SECTOR EMPLOYMENT

-Eliminate business personal property tax to spur new investment

-Increase freedom among Indiana employers by eliminating red tape and unnecessary licensing requirements

-Promote entrepreneurship by making it easier for new businesses to raise capital

-Increase the speed of business through one-stop permitting

ATTRACTING NEW INVESTMENT IN INDIANA, WITH EMPHASIS ON MANUFACTURING, AGRICULTURE, LIFE SCIENCES, AND LOGISTICS

-Increase regional competitiveness through new local government transparency portal

-Invest $400 million in the next era of highway expansion to keep freight and people moving in Indiana

-Fix the agricultural land productivity factor

-Develop plans to raise billions of dollars in new investment in regional cities to attract jobs, businesses and people

-Work with private partners to create a talent initiative to attract entrepreneurs

IMPROVING THE MATH & READING SKILLS OF ELEMENTARY STUDENTS

-Create an Indiana Teacher Innovation Fund to support teachers who improve student outcomes through innovative work in the classroom

-Support teachers who move to under-performing public schools and charter schools serving low-income students

-Establish a voucher pre-K program for low-income families

-Shorten the timeframe for failing schools to become turnaround schools

INCREASING GRADUATION RATES

-Improve charter school performance by allowing charter school networks to manage their funds with the same flexibility as school districts

-Increase the supply of alternative, high-performing schools by repurposing unused educational facilities

-Increase the number of dropout recovery schools for adults who never completed high school

IMPROVING THE QUALITY OF THE HOOSIER WORKFORCE

-Create a performance-based program to equip under-skilled adults for jobs in today?¦s economy

-Strengthen career pathways by conducting a statewide return-on-investment assessment of career and technical education

-Establish the Governor's task force on the future of higher education to ensure affordability & quality through new technology and innovation

IMPROVING THE HEALTH, SAFETY AND WELL-BEING OF HOOSIER FAMILIES, ESPECIALLY CHILDREN

-Increase the exemption for parents and children in Indiana?¦s tax code

-Expand and improve adoption in Indiana by offering parents a credit to offset adoption expenses and by removing barriers to adoption

-Continue to seek approval from the federal government to bring health care coverage to more Hoosiers through the innovative Healthy Indiana Plan

-Improve recycling in Indiana through market-based reforms

-Implement the first step of a unified, long-term water plan by streamlining Indiana?¦s water quality permitting responsibilities

-Assist veterans by expanding access to the Military Relief Fund

Source: Office of Indiana Governor Mike Pence

December 5, 2013

News release

Indianapolis, Ind. - Indiana House Democratic Leader Scott Pelath of Michigan City today issued the following statement in reaction to the announcement of Gov. Mike Pence?¦s agenda for the 2014 session of the Indiana General Assembly:

"From an initial look at his agenda, the Governor is not offering a striking vision of where Indiana needs to go.

"I agree that we must improve our state's crumbling infrastructure, and I applaud his desire to help families with child care.

"But as I look at the scope of these proposals, I wonder how he plans to reconcile new spending with his own reputation as a rabid fiscal conservative. I also wonder how fellow Tea Party politicians will react to any deterioration of their precious state surplus, which they value more than the prosperity of our citizens.

"And I cannot help but think that this agenda continues the recent tradition of leaving our state?¦s middle class by the side of the road.

"Consider that once again, the vast majority of tax breaks being proposed are being lavished on corporate board rooms and not families. Despite recent improvements in Indiana?¦s unemployment rate, our state still lags behind the rest of the country, and it is becoming rapidly apparent that consistently cutting taxes for those with all the power and all the money is not doing anything for middle-class pocketbooks.

"In fact, this trend toward more corporate giveaways is going to end up hurting families who will not find much protection from the property tax caps, and local units of government that again will be forced to choose to cut services or increase fees to pay for them.

"Once again, the improvements in our state?¦s educational system are weighted toward vouchers and charter schools available only to a select few. Our traditional public classrooms are forgotten.

"Since there may be some criticism of this agenda from members of the governor's own party, I simply will add that House Democrats will study this program in-depth in the weeks leading up to the start of the 2014 legislative session, and we will be prepared to offer improvements where necessary and alternatives that make sense.

"It's not all bad. But our state has many problems that this agenda ignores."

Source: Office of State Representative Scott Pelath