Pence Unveils More Priorities

Posted: Updated:

Governor Mike Pence has outlined his 2014 legislative priorities focusing on well being, including an expansion of the Healthy Indiana Plan. Pence's agenda also includes creating a tax credit for families that adopt and improved conservation efforts.

December 19, 2013

Governor Mike Pence's "Well Being" Agenda

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

Studies show the most dramatic academic gains from pre-K have been achieved by disadvantaged children.

A voluntary pre-kindergarten voucher program will be created for families up to 185 percent of the federal poverty level and will be available for use at the public or private institution of their choice, provided it meets specified accountability standards.

Continue to improve educational outcomes by promoting innovation in the classroom and by increasing educational options for families

We will propose legislation and initiatives to promote teacher innovation and create new ways for innovative schools to begin or expand in Indiana.

An Indiana Teacher Innovation Fund will award grants to teachers who design innovative programs in their classrooms that have the potential for replication in other classrooms and school districts.

A "Choices for Teachers" program will provide a stipend to traditional public school teachers who move to under-performing public schools and charter schools with at least 50 percent of their students eligible for free and reduced lunch.

New legislation will allow charter school networks to manage a single budget and freely move funding from one school to another as school districts do.

Create a council to design a statewide entity charged with repurposing unused or underutilized facilities for use by other school corporations and charter schools.

Increase the exemption for parents and children in Indiana’s tax code

Tax deductions for individuals and children have not increased since 1963 and 1978, respectively. This flat-rate deduction raises taxes over time, creating a “hidden” tax increase. Indiana’s average individual exemption is $1,000, compared to the average of $2,973 in other states.

The Indiana Department of Revenue will annually adjust the amount of the deductions based on the Consumer Price Index (CPI).

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

To be family friendly, Indiana must assist those who choose to build their families through adoption.

Create a one-year interim study committee to examine effective faith-based and community adoption programs, develop ways to better coordinate public and private adoptions and services, and reduce the legal and regulatory costs associated with foster care and adoption.

Create a state tax credit available for any individual or family who adopts.

Taxpayers who take advantage of the federal adoption credit – currently $12,650 – may claim an additional credit on their state tax returns up to 10 percent of the amount claimed in the federal credit.

Seek approval to bring health care coverage to more Hoosiers through the Healthy Indiana Plan

Indiana will continue its efforts to secure a federal waiver to bring coverage to more Hoosiers through the innovative Healthy Indiana Plan.

The one-of-a-kind Healthy Indiana Plan takes a consumer-driven approach to health care and can help guide the future of Medicaid.

Medicaid relies on an outdated model that contains no incentives for healthy decision-making and does little to improve health outcomes.

Healthy Indiana Plan members use the emergency room less and preventative care more than traditional Medicaid enrollees.

Over time, health care costs are lower under our innovative Healthy Indiana Plan when compared to traditional Medicaid, as confirmed by the State’s actuary.

Improve our conservation efforts

To promote prosperity for future generations we must conserve our natural resources.

Strengthen the Indiana Department of Environmental Management's ability to improve the quality of our water by locating all water quality permitting programs at the agency.

Establish a program for reporting recycling activity to measure success toward achieving a new state goal to recycle 50 percent of our municipal solid waste.

Expand access to the Military Relief Fund

Veterans face higher rates of unemployment than the general population, as well as other hardships.

Eliminate the three-year restriction on access to the Military Family Relief Fund, which provides grants that may be used for needs such as food, housing, utilities, medical services, transportation and other essential family expenses.

Lifting the restriction would open eligibility to approximately 26,000 veterans.

The Military Family Relief Fund has a balance of more than $7 million, and lifting the cap will help ensure those funds go to Hoosier veterans.

Source: Office of Indiana Governor Mike Pence