Governor Mike Pence has used his second State of the State address to renew his call to phase out the business personal property tax. He says a similar tax is not on the books in Ohio and Illinois and lawmakers in Michigan have decided to phase it out. Pence is also calling for public and private to investment for quality of life initiatives and $400 million “for the next era of highway expansion.” Our partners at WTHR in Indianapolis report the governor is also urging legislators to decide on a proposed constitutional amendment to define marriage by the end of the year. The Governor also used the speech to call for more school choice and cooperation to deal with education issues.
While saying he believes in traditional marriage, Pence asked for “civility and respect” in the debate on the proposed amendment to the state Constitution that would further define marriage.
He is also renewing a call to index the personal and dependent tax exemptions to inflation. Pence says those deductions have not increased since 1978.
The Governor also wants Indiana to become the most pro-adoption state in the country.
Source: Inside INdiana Business.
Text of Governor Mike Pence's State of the State (as prepared for delivery)
Speaker Bosma, President Pro Tem Long, Lt. Governor Ellspermann, Senator Lanane, Representative Pelath, distinguished members of the General Assembly and Judiciary, honored guests, my fellow Hoosiers.
Thank you for that warm welcome. After last week, warm is my favorite word! I want to thank all of you in this room and your families for your service to the people of Indiana in this historic place.
One year ago today, we started on a journey together. I’ve learned a great deal traveling this state over that year, being with Hoosiers in good times and bad. From hiking with kids in Lincoln State Park to walking neighborhoods in Kokomo devastated by tornadoes, I’ve seen the character and spirit of our people firsthand—hardworking, resilient, and generous to those in need.
And from all that I’ve seen, I can say with conviction that the state of our state is strong and growing stronger every day. We have good government, because we serve great people!
And nowhere was that more obvious than during last week’s arctic storm.
There was heartbreak of course, but it could have been a lot worse were it not for the efforts of our first responders who – without regard for their own health and safety – rescued countless Hoosiers, and our highway crews, utility workers, churches and charities who opened their doors to shelter those in need.
To our local police, fire, EMS, to our highway workers, and state police, to every Hoosier who reached out to a neighbor, thank you.
And I offer special appreciation to our citizen soldiers, who on short notice, deployed Highway Assistance Teams to rescue stranded Hoosiers and assist local first responders in the midst of the storm.
Joining us here tonight representing all those who answered the call of duty are Sergeant First Class Malika Dowdell from the 38th Infantry Division, Staff Sergeant Nick Leis of the 113th Air Support Operations Squadron, and Sergeant Marc Muehling of the second of the one-fiftieth Field Artillery.
The people of Indiana thank you all for your service, and so do I.
Moments like this should be about the future, but it’s also important to see how far we’ve come in the past year.
Last year I told you we would make job creation job one, live within our means, improve our schools and cut taxes.
Thanks to the hardworking people of this state and all of you in this room, we did just what we said we would do. We balanced our budget, created jobs, cut red tape by 55 percent, improved our schools and roads, and paid down state debt.
I even put the state’s plane up for sale. If you know anyone looking for a great deal on a Beechcraft King Air 200, give me a call!
We did all of that and gave Hoosiers the largest state tax cut in Indiana history.
As a result, Indiana has become a national leader in job growth. Last year, Hoosiers created more than 47,500 new private sector jobs. And we maintained our AAA credit rating.
In November, one out of every eight jobs created in this country was created right here in Indiana. Unemployment was 8.6 percent when I stood here last year. Today, while still too high, it’s at a five-year low of 7.3 percent.
And since 2009, Indiana has the fifth fastest private sector job growth rate in the nation.
Most encouraging to this dad, Indiana's fourth and eighth graders recently showed the second best improvement in America in math and reading scores, and fourth-grade reading proficiency is the highest it has ever been.
We’ve made progress in jobs and schools, but with still-too-many Hoosiers out of work, with our state lagging behind in per capita income and health, and too many kids in underperforming schools, I believe we must remain relentless, bold and ambitious to keep Indiana moving forward.
Last month I travelled the state to outline my agenda for 2014. I want to share a few highlights with you tonight.
First, we all recognize that low taxes are essential to attracting investment and good-paying jobs.
Even with our recent progress, one significant impediment to business investment remains – it's called the business personal property tax.
This tax is especially damaging because it makes it harder for Hoosier businesses to grow by directly taxing any investments they make in equipment.
Taxing equipment and technology in a state that leads the nation in making and creating things just doesn't make sense.
And it looks like our neighboring states have figured that out. Ohio and Illinois don’t have a business personal property tax, and Michigan lawmakers just voted to phase theirs out.
To make Indiana more competitive, let's find a responsible way to phase out this tax. But, let's do it in a way that protects our local governments and doesn't shift the burden of a business tax onto the backs of hardworking Hoosiers.
I appreciate that both the House and Senate leadership are looking at the business personal property tax and other ways to ensure that Indiana has the best tax climate possible.
Phasing out the business personal property tax will spur new investment by businesses large and small, like Coeus Technology, an advanced manufacturing startup in Anderson launched by a Marine veteran, whose products help support our troops.
Or Amatrol in Jeffersonville. Don and Roberta Perkins started their company in 1964 to manufacture technical training systems and interactive multimedia software for colleges, industry and high schools. Today, Amatrol employs 143 Hoosiers, and in 2010 it was named the Indiana Outstanding Business of the Year.
These are just two Indiana success stories that we can help with the right kind of tax reform. Join me in welcoming Nate Richardson of Coeus Technology and Paul Perkins of Amatrol who are with us tonight.
But we have to do more than just improve our tax code.
Because roads mean jobs, we need to release $400 million for the next era of highway expansion, and put people to work now.
Because Indiana is agriculture, we need a permanent fix to the soil productivity factor.
Because Indiana’s regional cities are vital to our state's economic development, we need public and private investment to improve quality of life.
That's the Indiana way to a growing future.
That way also means standing up to Washington, D.C., from time to time.
Most Hoosiers didn’t like Washington intruding on our healthcare long before it became a reality. Now, more people than ever know why we were right to stand up to the federal government on the Affordable Care Act.
There's been a lot of talk about Medicaid. The sad truth is that traditional Medicaid is not just broke, it is broken.
Research shows that the program does not lead to better health o