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Indiana governor hopefuls talk education, infrastructure

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Despite their political differences, the three men running for Indiana governor outlined similar outlooks for running the state during a forum Tuesday, from proposing improved job training to imposing tax cuts. But which taxes should be cut and when highlighted their differences.

Democrat John Gregg, Republican Mike Pence and Libertarian Rupert Boneham varied most on their tax plans during their discussion with retired Indiana Chief Justice Randall Shepard.

Gregg, a former state lawmaker, came across as knowledgeable and jovial as he reiterated his call for eliminating the sales tax on gasoline. Pence, a congressman, argued his proposal for cutting the state income tax by 10 percent, and held tightly to the script he has used throughout the campaign.

Boneham, a youth mentor, stumbled through general calls for lower taxes on business, though he was largely in agreement with Pence and Gregg on most issues.

The three spent close to a half hour each talking with Shepard at a forum hosted by Indiana University's Public Policy Institute in Indianapolis. The forum offered a preview of the debates each will participate in before the election day, though their messages could get drowned out by the massive on-air fight already under way between Pence and Gregg.

Gregg appeared most at ease in his conversation with Shepard, rattling off the names of businesses around the state and local officials he knew from the campaign trail, while riffing generally on Shepard's questions. Asked about education, he echoed remarks from Pence and Boneham that college education needs to be more affordable.

"We've done a great job in Indiana of making college accessible through our public universities," he said. "I think our challenge for the next governor and for all of us as a people is to make sure it's affordable."

Pence offered hints at some new ideas he'll be rolling out in the coming weeks. He proposed creating a blue-ribbon panel to examine the state's infrastructure needs. He said the lease of the Indiana Toll Road under current Gov. Mitch Daniels gave the state millions of dollars to begin infrastructure projects that had remained on drawing boards awaiting funding.

Since then, however, planning has dried up, and Indiana needs to find the best ways to build infrastructure to serve Indiana's strengths in manufacturing, agriculture and the life sciences.

"I think roads mean jobs," Pence said.

Pence and Gregg reiterated proposals to cut various taxes and try to increase vocational training. Boneham largely agreed on the broader points of cutting taxes and making college more affordable, but occasionally diverged from the group, throwing his support behind a mass-transit system in central Indiana at one point.

"That is a giant opportunity for us to encourage more work for Hoosiers," said Boneham, a former reality television star.

The three candidates expect to meet again for three debates hosted by the Indiana Debate Commission before November's election.

While the campaigns have released their own ideas about how they would run the state, they have yet to engage each other in any serious debate, directly or through press statements.

Gregg has gone after Pence throughout the campaign — at one point milling through Pence's congressional record and a 1991 collection of essays Pence edited at a conservative think tank to cobble together what he argued would be the "Pence Plan for Indiana."

But Pence, who has a massive fundraising lead, has largely ignored Gregg throughout the campaign focusing instead on a tightly written script about jobs and economic development.

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  • injustice
    You agreed to make a law to take peoples children out of there home for any little thing I feel like if there is no abuse no violence no neglect no molestation you shouldn't take children from their homes if there not in danger or harm people that do drugs shouldnt loose their kids because they have an addiction they should be helped in wich way they can taking children out of there homes is not the answer nor the solution 90% of time you make the situation worser than what it is do you think that it's fair to the children putting them through this who would even ever come up with this its unfair one of the presidents used marjuana did they take his children or freedom the law is crooked and its alot of dirty people taking advantage of it god isn't unfair to us so we shouldnt be unfair to others something needs to be done about now not later this world is corrupt and the people in it this is a disgrace to man kind I'm going to pray for justice
  • There are THREE candidates...
    While the IBJ obviously does nto want to paint a positive picture of the Libertarian conadiadte...maybe you should reference all THREE candidates next time you wish to offer a suggestion about this campaign!!!

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  1. Socialized medicine works great for white people in Scandanavia. It works well in Costa Rica for a population that is partly white and partly mestizo. I don't really see Obamacare as something aimed against whites. I think that is a Republican canard designed to elicit support from white people for republican candidates who don't care about them any more than democrats care about the non-whites they pander to with their phony maneuvers. But what is different between Costa Rica nd the Scandanavian nations on one hand and the US on the other? SIZE. Maybe the US is just too damn big. Maybe it just needs to be divided into smaller self governing pieces like when the old Holy Roman Empire was dismantled. Maybe we are always trying the same set of solutions for different kinds of people as if we were all the same. Oh-- I know-- that is liberal dogma, that we are all the same. Which is the most idiotic American notion going right back to the propaganda of 1776. All men are different and their differences are myriad and that which is different is not equal. The state which pretends men are all the same is going to force men to be the same. That is what America does here, that is what we do in our stupid overseas wars, that is how we destroy true diversity and true difference, and we are all as different groups of folks, feeling the pains of how capitalism is grinding us down into equally insignificant proletarian microconsumers with no other identity whether we like it or not. And the Marxists had this much right about the War of Independence: it was fundamentally a war of capitalist against feudal systems. America has been about big money since day one and whatever gets in the way is crushed. Health care is just another market and Obamacare, to the extent that it Rationalizes and makes more uniform a market which should actually be really different in nature and delivery from place to place-- well that will serve the interests of the biggest capitalist stakeholders in health care which is not Walmart for Gosh Sakes it is the INSURANCE INDUSTRY. CUI BONO Obamacare? The insurance industry. So republicans drop the delusion pro capitalist scales from your eyes this has almost nothing to do with race or "socialism" it has to do mostly with what the INSURANCE INDUSTRY wants to have happen in order to make their lives and profits easier.

  2. Read the article - the reason they can't justify staying is they have too many medicare/medicaid patients and the re-imbursements for transporting these patient is so low.

  3. I would not vote for Bayh if he did run. I also wouldn't vote for Pence. My guess is that Bayh does not have the stomach to oppose persons on the far left or far right. Also, outside of capitalizing on his time as U. S. Senator (and his wife's time as a board member to several companies) I don't know if he is willing to fight for anything. If people who claim to be in the middle walk away from fights with the right and left wing, what are we left with? Extremes. It's probably best for Bayh if he does not have the stomach for the fight but the result is no middle ground.

  4. JK - I meant that the results don't ring true. I also questioned the 10-year-old study because so much in the "health care system" has changed since the study was made. Moreover, it was hard to get to any overall conclusion or observation with the article. But....don't be defensive given my comments; I still think you do the best job of any journalist in the area shedding light and insight on important health care issues.

  5. Probably a good idea he doesn't run. I for one do not want someone who lives in VIRGINIA to be the governor. He gave it some thought, but he likes Virginia too much. What a name I cannot say on this site! The way these people think and operate amuses me.

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