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House lawmakers advance pair of Pence measures

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The Indiana House unanimously approved two of Republican Gov. Mike Pence's top priorities for 2014 on Monday, both aimed at providing tax support for families.

The House voted in favor of measures increasing personal income tax exemptions and establishing an adoption tax credit. Both measures won broad bipartisan support Monday shortly ahead of a key midterm deadline for lawmakers.

The income tax plan would automatically increase tax exemptions according to the consumer price index, saving individuals an additional $16 or so each year. The state's current individual tax exemption is $1,000, which means that amount is deducted from a person's taxable income. The plan also increases the child tax exemption, from $1,500 to $2,000, while also setting that to increase each year according to the consumer price index.

The adoption proposal would create a state tax credit, a reduction in the tax itself, for families that qualify for an existing federal tax credit for adoptive parents. It also establishes a study committee that would examine ways to promote adoption.

"Many times parents do not adopt kids because of the expense; that shouldn't be the case," said Rep. Rebecca Kubacki, R-Syracuse, who has adopted children herself.

Monday's votes marked a pair of fairly easy victories for Pence, who has seen some of his other priorities pared back by state lawmakers.

Pence has spent much of his second meeting with the General Assembly pushing for the phase-out of the state's tax on business equipment and the creation of vouchers for preschool-aged children. Republicans, who control large margins in both the House and Senate, have crafted their own measures with fractions of what the governor initially sought.

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