(INDIANAPOLIS) - Governor Pence is prodding legislators to bring tax relief to businesses and individual Hoosiers, in his second State of the State address.
The governor thanked the House and Senate for beginning work quickly on finding the best way to meet his goal of phasing out the business personal property tax. And he reminded legislators he's also seeking another income tax cut, in the form of increased personal and dependent deductions. Pence notes the dependent deduction hasn't gone up in 36 years.
Pence reaffirmed his call for locally-written academic standards for Indiana schools, and for an expansion of preschool vouchers for low-income students.
And the governor signaled support for a constitutional ban on gay marriage, declaring marriage should be defined by "the people, not unelected judges."
He didn't directly call for the amendment's passage, but did warn legislators against suggestions the amendment be reworded, saying legislators should "resolve this issue this year once and for all." Any change in the amendment would extend the debate another two years.
Pence urged "a debate worthy of our people, with civility and respect" for those on either side of the issue.
Lawmakers React To State of the State Adress
Governor Pence's fellow Republicans are calling his State of the State a good blueprint for the session ahead, while Democrats are dismissing the address as "underwhelming."
House Minority Leader Scott Pelath (D-Michigan City) charges Pence isn't serious about governing. He says the governor's proposals range from what he calls "tepid" ones, like an increase in the personal deduction on your income tax, to misguided.
He contends Pence's centerpiece proposal to phase out the business personal property tax would shift the tax burden to individuals without creating jobs.
And Pelath and Senate Minority Leader Tim Lanane (D-Anderson) slam the governor's tacit endorsement of the constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage.
Lanane complains Pence could have used the State of the State spotlight to urge legislators to drop the idea, Republican leaders agree the speech was one of "broad brushstrokes," but they say it's the legislature's task to hash out the details.
Speaker Brian Bosma (R-Indianapolis) says he's glad to hear Pence publicly acknowledge the need to craft the business personal property tax change in a way that avoids damage to local budgets.
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