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House Democratic Leader Pelath on State of the State: Is Governor On Board For Tax Increases? Hard To Say.
Updated January 18, 2017 8:05 AM
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(INDIANAPOLIS) - Indiana House Democratic Leader Scott Pelath from Michigan City today issued the following statement after Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb gave his first State of the State address:

"While Republicans in the Legislature are calling for new taxes on Hoosier motorists, it seems our governor is not yet ready to embrace their plan.

"The success of any program as massive as this depends on the governor's ability to sell it to Hoosiers. From what we have seen tonight, it does not appear he is ready to accept that role.

"This is the dilemma facing his party. Too many House and Senate Republicans have preached for years that taxes cannot be raised for any reason. Candidly, they have effectively convinced many voters of this as well.

"Republicans may be disagreeing with each other before they get around to disagreeing with Democrats.

"Truth be told, this is a time for questions. Indiana House Democrats remain wary of calls for sacrifices that are not shared, particularly at a time when these same leaders keep state budget surpluses at impossibly high levels AND cut taxes for corporations, special interests, and the very wealthy.

"There is a lot of pleading that must be done to make legislators on both sides of the aisle believe that we should be raising taxes. After tonight's speech, it remains to be seen what role the governor will play in the debate.

"As for the governor's other proposals, there is much to support in the call for improving the skills of our workforce, but we are simply too timid in our approach to pre-K. The need is obvious enough that we do not have to fiddle with gradual expansions of pilot projects that ignore most of the state.

"And when it comes to K-12, there simply isn't enough of a recognition that we have been slowly starving our public schools of the funds they need to meet their constitutionally-required mandate to educate all children. At some point in time, we have to stop continually throwing money at a laboratory for vouchers and charters, and remind ourselves that we need to look out for all schoolchildren.

"Indiana House Democrats will be there to offer advice as Republicans work through their internal debates, particularly when it comes to tax hikes. There are alternatives that don't ask more from the unconnected."

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