INDIANAPOLIS — “I’m ready to work” has been a mantra of newly minted Gov. Mike Pence since he hit the campaign trail. His first State of the State address did not deviate from that ideal, focusing hard on cutting taxes and creating jobs for Hoosiers young and old.
Pence has only been on the job for a week officially, but has gotten to work fulfilling his campaign promises, championing the fact that he has already proposed a jobs budget that is “honestly balanced, holds the line on spending, funds our priorities, builds our reserves, and lets hardworking Hoosiers keep more of what they earned.”
Pence reiterated his belief that government doesn’t create jobs, but that it needs to create the climate that increases more employment opportunities.
“Everything starts with fiscal discipline, the surest foundation of economic growth,” he said.
Pence said his budget proposal is a full percentage point less than inflation and lowers income taxes by 10 percent, allowing local Hoosiers to keep more of what they earn and spend it as they choose.
“Hoosiers work hard,” he offered. “They labor in a fragile economy. They save and invest in their families and businesses and family farms. Why wouldn’t we want them to keep more of what they earn?”
Pence’s proposal would make Indiana the lowest taxed state in the Midwest. He said that will lead to the hiring of new employees, the ability for budding small businesses to flourish, and for state residents to be more willing to put money back into the state’s economy by having more disposable income.
His other watermark issue last night and over the campaign trail has been about how the state increases educational opportunities.
“We proposed an increase in funding for schools each of the next two years,” Pence said, “with the second year based on school performance and an additional $6 million in teacher excellence grants to increase pay for our high-performing teachers.”
He also has been on the front lines of focusing on career, technical, and vocational education in high schools.
“We need greater collaboration between agencies, and I propose we create Regional Works Councils to work with businesses and educators across the state to develop regional, demand-driven curricula to bring high-paying career options to more Hoosiers in high school.”
Pence also took aim at the fact that 22 percent of children in Indiana grow up in poverty. He said he signed an executive order requiring certain state agencies to develop family impact statements that ensure any new rules and regulations they create do not unfairly handicap married, two-parent families.
“Given the undeniable relationship between childhood poverty and unmarried childbearing, Indiana should seek ways to encourage strong, healthy families for our kids, our communities, and our state,” he said.
He also harkened back to Ronald Reagan, speaking about the federal government not giving enough power to the states and said that in Indiana, that should not be the case.
“Hoosiers have found practical Indiana solutions to the challenges facing their communities,” Pence said. “We have one of the most innovative health care programs in the country. We have implemented education reforms that are a model of the nation. And we have built our roads on time and under budget. As your governor, I will never stop standing for the rights of Indiana’s people to run our schools, choose our health care, and produce our energy the Indiana way.”
State Sen. Pete Miller of Avon said he’s looking forward to working with Pence.
“I look forward to working with Governor Pence and legislators to craft a budget that focuses on spending on essential services like education and infrastructure,” Miller said. “We’ve established a tradition in Indiana of spending within our means, and I want to continue that tradition so we can grow our economy and create more jobs for Hoosiers across the state.”
Brownsburg Town Council President Dwayne Sawyer was recently named to the Central Indiana Regional Council of Elected Officials that come from 18 central Indiana communities. As such, he attended Pence’s State of the State address.
“Pence and his team, they’re smart people, say we need this much money to run the government, and if the people can keep more of their money, then we can re-invest,” Sawyer said. “Companies can invest to hire more people and that will stimulate job creation and get money in people’s pockets so they can spend more. People say that if you cut taxes, you’re cutting impact of the government. He has run the numbers in great deal and promoted (the balanced budget), and I applaud his efforts.”