Opinion and Forefront

PENCE: Prudence, freedom, education, strong families create jobs

December 10, 2011

Mike PenceQuestion: As governor, what would you do to improve the Indiana economy?

Answer: Over the past seven years, Indiana has made substantial progress in economic development and government reform, but our state is still facing a heartbreaking unemployment rate of 9 percent. More than 250,000 Hoosiers are struggling to find a job and even more have quit looking for work altogether.

In the months ahead, our campaign will articulate policies to confront this reality, but the priorities are clear. The next governor must make job creation “job one” of the incoming administration. If I am privileged to serve as governor, I will align all state government in support of private-sector job growth.

To improve Indiana’s economy, we must first continue to live within our means. As governor, I will insist on balanced budgets without tax increases. I will protect Indiana’s AAA credit rating and fiscal reputation as of first importance. We cannot go back to the policies of the recent past that left our state $700 million in debt.

Fiscal restraint alone will not create jobs. After ensuring adequate reserves, as governor, I will promote tax relief and tax reform for working families, small businesses and family farms. By cutting and reforming taxes, Indiana can retain and attract even more investment and unleash the power of Hoosier entrepreneurs.

As governor, I will also lead the fight against measures that threaten our freedom and stifle our growth like cap-and-trade and Obamacare. As we challenge barriers to our recovery from Washington, D.C., our next governor must also work to remove every barrier to job creation in Indiana.

Economic freedom means jobs and economic freedom begins in the workplace. No Hoosier worker should be compelled to join a union or pay dues as a condition of employment. I applaud the efforts of our leaders in the General Assembly and as governor, I will work to ensure the economic freedom of every Hoosier worker.

To improve Indiana’s economy, we must continue to lead in education innovation and reform. We cannot succeed in the marketplace if we fail in the classroom. A competitive work force is vital to Indiana’s traditional growth industries like manufacturing, logistics, agriculture and biotech.

As governor, I will protect and expand the recent reforms of our K-12 education system. I will fund excellence in education by empowering parents and teachers and expanding equality of opportunity for every Hoosier child through parental choice and charter schools until Indiana has the best schools in America.

Our next governor must also promote technical training for advanced manufacturing and other skilled trades. As governor, I will focus our state on giving unemployed Hoosiers the skills they need to get back to work and preparing tomorrow’s work force for good-paying jobs.

Finally, to improve Indiana’s economy our state must strengthen Indiana’s families. The poverty rate for single-parent households is four times the poverty rate for two-parent families. As governor, I will look for ways to promote healthy families as a wellspring of economic stability and growth.

Our next administration must also find ways to meet our state’s growing energy demands, develop a plan for the state’s next generation of infrastructure, enhance commercialization of research and development in higher education, and tell Indiana’s story to business leaders across the country and around the globe.

Despite our struggling economy, I am optimistic about Indiana’s future. Like most Hoosiers, I believe our state is on the verge of an era of growth like no other in our lifetime.

With the right policies and leadership, Indiana can continue to be the best place in America to live, work, build a business, and raise a family. Let’s get to work.•

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Pence represents the 6th congressional district and is running for the Republican nomination for governor. Send comments on this column to ibjedit@ibj.com.

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