Opinion and Forefront

SWAYZE: Turbo government here for business

November 17, 2012

Sue SwayzeNow that Indiana is right-to-work, voters have given Gov.-elect Mike Pence a legislative escort through his Roadmap for Indiana. Super-majorities in the House and Senate will help him build on Gov. Daniels’ success to make Indiana a state that works.

Pence and Lt. Gov.-elect Sue Ellspermann, a successful businesswoman herself, understand business development. A popular drinking game during the debates, their now-famous refrain of “Roadmap for Indiana” will pack a punch for business.

The road map clearly outlines priorities to cut personal income taxes 10 percent, attract investment, freeze regulations, reward risk, open markets, spark innovation and mine one of Indiana’s best natural resources—high school technical education for a job-ready work force. It’s clever, too. They’ll fling open the doors of Indianapolis’ award-winning convention sector to boast Hoosier successes to a first-ever conference for site selectors.

Voters were wise to give the new governor a walkout-proof House and continue the super-majority in the Senate. Their commitment to economic growth was proven mightily last session.

As Pence now dons a laser focus on creating jobs, fostering entrepreneurship, and a tax and regulatory climate for business growth, the cavalry just showed up!

Fresh replacements arrived in the House in 19 new Republican members, most of whom are business owners themselves: Dale Devon, Granger, owner of DeVon Custom Homes; Sharon Negele, Attica, owner of Wolf’s Homemade Candies Inc.; Jim Lucas, Seymour, owner of The Awning Guy; John Price, Greenwood, president of JLP Enterprises and Irrigation Solutions; Hal Slager, Schererville, owner of Triangle Equities LLC; and many more.

These Hoosiers have invested capital, made payroll, and sacrificed during downturns—they’ve already put pinpoints on the road map with their own successes.

Partner this with the business acumen of Senate leaders like Long, Luke Kenley, Brandt Hershman and Scott Schneider, and we’ve got what it takes for long-term growth.

The golden nugget—and biggest challenge—of the Roadmap for Indiana is its diversity.

The traditional small-business sector stands to reap rewards from a more predictable regulatory climate, new markets in manufacturing and farming, and a better-prepared work force. The life sciences sector will get a boost through stronger partnerships with universities.

Liberals worry about the Republican trifecta’s impact on socially conservative issues, such as the marriage amendment and abortion, and they are right to do so. This is a pro-life, pro-family majority and the conservatives hope to get every last drop of policy that will strengthen families and support life.

And regardless of the marketing appeal, experience confirms that a gay-friendly business approach does not affect economic growth.

The Republican trifecta makes a defensive line for our state against forces that have discouraged investment. Most agree that Obamacare, for example, was designed to provoke businesses to drop health insurance coverage for employees. How this will play out continues to be a mystery.

State sovereignty issues are expected to come in waves now. But watch Indiana’s team, with Attorney General Greg Zoeller in the mix, block and tackle for Hoosier businesses in unprecedented ways, including through a new Office of State-Based Initiatives to push back against federal regulations.

Building on the vision of the Daniels years, the state is now in position for a successful trip through the Roadmap for Indiana, courtesy of our escorts Pence, Ellspermann, Bosma and Long and their pro-business cavalry.

Pass that road map!•

Swayze leads the Indiana Family Institute’s Hoosier Congressional Policy Leadership Series and has held numerous lobbying positions with not-for-profit organizations. Send comments on this column to ibjedit@ibj.com.

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