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Bosma faults tea party group, Pence for tax-cut woes

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 A tea party group's "erroneous" attacks on Indiana House Republicans and Gov. Mike Pence's campaign stumbles are the reason the governor's signature tax cut is in jeopardy of failing, House Speaker Brian Bosma said Thursday.

Pence has conducted an unorthodox, external lobbying campaign for his personal income tax cut, pumping his base of conservative supporters outside the Statehouse to lobby lawmakers during their 2013 session.

Americans for Prosperity, a national tea party group, has joined in, running TV and radio ads attacking Bosma and House Republicans for passing a $30 billion state budget that swaps the tax cut for more spending on roads and schools. Those ads, even with minimal airing in Indiana, finally got Bosma's goat.

"After 10 days of misinformation about it, it's a little difficult not to — as I indicated to the governor — defend where we are in the House budget," he said, referring to the ads. "That doesn't mean there can't be compromise, or can't be discussion. This wasn't drunken spending, as someone said, this was the most conservative approach to fiscal policy that this state's seen in 20 years."

Bosma later added that Pence was starting from a deficit in the General Assembly because he fumbled the plan's rollout last year, giving legislative leaders 45 minutes' notice before the announcement and never seeking their input.

"The message of our ad is an undisputed fact — Hoosier taxpayers know how to spend their hard earned dollars better than government does," AFP state director Chase Downham said in a written statement. "This issue isn't about House Republicans. It's about the taxpayers and small businesses that want and deserve this tax cut."

Downham did not return an email or phone call Thursday seeking further explanation.

Pence has gained little traction for his signature proposal, which would cut personal income taxes by 10 percent, despite overwhelming Republican majorities in the House and Senate. Instead, he has faced criticism from leaders like Bosma, who called the tax cut a politically expedient move.

"Governor Pence remains confident that all concerned will come together and produce a fiscally sound budget that funds our priorities and includes the kind of income tax relief that Hoosiers need and deserve," Pence spokeswoman Christy Denault said in a written statement Thursday.

Pence and his supporters have maintained that lowering the tax from 3.4 percent to 3.06 percent is the best way to fire up the state economy.

The tone has become increasingly acrid over the past week, even in the relatively genteel world of Indiana politics. Asked by a reporter Thursday about American for Prosperity's claim that he is a "RINO"— a Republican-in-name-only and considered a derisive term — Bosma fired back.

"If I'm a RINO, I think we're all in trouble," Bosma said. "I'm a pro-life, pro-tax cut, conservative budgeter. I'm happy where I am, and labels don't matter much. Particularly labels from folks like them."

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  • Keep the change
    I agree with one of the previous comments regarding the $111.00 refund. Please keep it and shore up the infrastructure and make sure that the state maintains a surplus for years to come. I don't like gimmicks and this is just another one. On another note, Mr Pence and team has not impressed me yet and I thought he would by now. He seems to be preoccupied with 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. If you really care about Hoosiers, focus on being Governor and not President.
  • You are all by yourself, Executive
    More threats from the tea party...Mr. Pence wants to throw you a little pocket change on his way to a run for President, and you threaten Bosma with a challenge. You can keep your American's for Prosperity rhetoric Executive...I, like the others here, am pleased Mr. Bosma has stood up for what is more important.
  • Stand firm Bosma
    Bosma is a statesman who has toiled for years in the Legislature and his local community. Pence is an opportunist and ambitious politician who wants to be President. Which man is more likely to have the citizens' best interest at heart.
  • Go Bosma!
    I am so happy that Indiana's Republican legislators are more concerned about doing what is necessary to improve our quality of life for all citizens, than caving into an obvious pandering for votes - i.e. a little bit of tax rebate. The use of all this collective money can do so much good for all of us. Thank you Brian Bosma for your leadership. Hang in there!
  • We ARE getting the surplus
    When you file your Indiana tax return you will notice that you get an extra $111/person. This is the refund of the surplus.
  • Keep my $200
    I do dispute the "fact" as presented by Chase Downham. I'm a Hoosier and I'd rather the State keep the money to expand Medicaid, or improve schools.
  • Hoosiers know how to spend their money?
    We're overweight, under-educated, over-gambled and betting the lottery will save the day. Right. We really know how to spend our money.
  • Get out of Indiana
    Please get the national interests and money of Americans for Prosperity out of our state. They do NOT represent our state's interests; they represent the wills of the national GOP platform and Koch brothers businesses.
  • Wake up Governor!!
    I'm with speaker Bosma on this one. If we have a surplus down the road, then give some of it back to the taxpayers. Right now, speaker Bosma is showing that he has a much better temperment for the job of governor than does governor Pence. The fact that Pence even listens to the Tea Party is disturbing, given they traded Lugar, a great statesman, for Murdoch, an even greater dunce. Oh and let's not forget Todd Akin, a kindred lightweight. Pence deserves more time to prove himself, but right now, he does not instill much confidence in those of us who voted for him.
  • Pence
    It's unfortunate that this little tax cut is going to ruin all Mike Pence's plans to use the governor's job as a stepping stone to a presidential campaign.
  • "People Like Us"
    The Legislature passed a bill a couple of sessions ago which returned a portion of any budget surplus to taxpayers. The following session attached certain 'stipulations' to the return of these surplus funds to taxpayers. This session, with Republicans (?) in a quorum and majority guaranteed status in both the Senate and House, additional 'stipulations' are in place, and taxpayers have yet to see one dime of the surplus returned. Our Governor saw this coming, and part of his election campaign was to cut taxes by 10%. Bosma cannot stand to be challenged. He will learn about a true challenge in the next primary.

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