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Indiana governor hopefuls detail ideas for job growth

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The message from Indiana's gubernatorial candidates is almost universally about putting Hoosiers back to work, but their ideas for finding those "jobs, jobs, jobs" vary widely.

Libertarian Rupert Boneham, former Democratic Indiana House Speaker John Gregg and Republican U.S. Rep. Mike Pence laid out their ideas Saturday for journalists gathered at the Indiana Associated Press Managing Editors meeting in Indianapolis.

"Job creation has to be job one," Pence said, but the means for reaching employment goals varies greatly between the three men.

Pence detailed a possible "jobs Cabinet" that would be filled with business leaders and dispatch investment gurus across the state to back startup businesses. Boneham suggested Indiana farmers begin growing fiber crops, such as hemp and bamboo, to begin making clothes and other goods in-state. And Gregg said the state needs to look at its energy resources, saying that wind turbine parts should be manufactured in Indiana, not overseas.

"We want an Indiana where Hoosiers feel like they're getting their fair shake from government," Gregg said.

The winner of November's general election will take over for Gov. Mitch Daniels, who is barred from seeking a third term in office. The new governor will inherit a government with roughly $1.8 billion cash in reserves and the strongest credit rating from national bond rating agencies. But Indiana also weathered deep budget cuts during the recession and has shared in Rust Belt states' struggles with high unemployment.

While Saturday's separate forums gave the three equal footing to pitch their ideas, the campaign trail promises to be much less forgiving. Pence looks poised to easily dominate Indiana's airwaves with $4.9 million in the bank at the start of April compared to Gregg's $1.5 million in the bank. When asked if he would be buying airtime, Boneham lamented that he only had $35,000 on hand and has been splitting his time between the campaign and running his mentoring program for troubled youth.

In the last year, Pence and Gregg have both trickled out their plans for tax cuts in various forms. Gregg said he plans to roll out a new tax proposal in the coming weeks, and Pence said he'll detail his agenda closer to the state Republican convention in June.

While Pence and Gregg tried to grab Daniels' mantle for themselves on Saturday, Boneham was the only one to directly criticize the two-term governor, accusing him of centralizing government operations. He also turned the questions back on the members of the press, asking them to include him in articles about Pence and Gregg and stop using old photos of him from his time on "Survivor."

Meanwhile, Gregg argued that partisan bickering—which has deadlocked work in Washington—threatens to spread to Indiana if Pence is elected. The criticism appeared directed at drawing out Pence to talk more about social issues, something he has not done much of in the campaign.

But when asked about a social issue himself—creationism—Gregg struggled, saying he believes that biblical timelines may not be literal, but that God created humans. Pence answered the same question saying he is "open" and does not have a definite opinion.

Boneham distanced himself the most from the other two on social issues, saying he is an abortion-rights candidate who also supports same-sex marriage. Pence and Gregg have previously said they are anti-abortion candidates who oppose same-sex marriage.

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    We need to keep a Republican in office. We need physcal responsibility. The democraps will just blow all of the money and good credit rating Mitch has worked so hard to build.

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    1. This is a terrible idea. I have an enormous amount of respect and appreciation for all the men and women who wear a uniform and serve the Indy Metro area. They don't get paid enough for all the crap they have to take. Low Pay and Benefits. Every thug and crazy taking pot shots at them. The statistics, demographics, and data that we have accumulated for umpteen years DO NOT LIE. Let's focus on making sure that the politicians that are "mandating" this crap are living where THEY are supposed to be living. Let's make sure that the politicians are not corrupt and wasting resources before we start digging into the folks on the front lines trying to do a difficult job. Since we are "hip" to "great ideas" Let's round up all the thugs in the Indy Metro area who are on parole violation as well as those in Marion County Jail that are never going to be rehabilitated and ship them down to Central America or better yet...China. Let's see how they fare in that part of the world.

    2. Once a Marion Co. commuter tax is established, I'm moving my organization out of Indianapolis. Face it, with the advancement in technology, it's getting more cost effective to have people work out of their homes. The clock is running out on the need for much of the office space in Indianapolis. Establishing a commuter tax will only advance the hands of the clock and the residents of Indianapolis will be left to clean up the mess they created on their own, with much less resources.

    3. The 2013 YE financial indicates the City of Indianapolis has over $2 B in assets and net position of $362.7 M. All of these assets have been created and funded by taxpayers. In 2013 they took in $806 M in revenues. Again, all from tax payers. Think about this, Indianapolis takes in $800 M per year and they do not have enough money? The premise that government needs more money for services is false.

    4. As I understand it, the idea is to offer police to live in high risk areas in exchange for a housing benefit/subsidy of some kind. This fact means there is a choice for the officer(s) to take the offer and receive the benefit. In terms of mandating living in a community, it is entirely reasonable for employers to mandate public safety officials live in their community. Again, the public safety official has a choice, to live in the area or to take another job.

    5. The free market will seek its own level. If Employers cannot hire a retain good employees in Marion Co they will leave and set up shop in adjacent county. Marion Co already suffers from businesses leaving I would think this would encourage more of the same.

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