Pence: Session ‘productive’ so far, agenda largely intact

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence said Thursday he’s pleased with the way his agenda is faring at the halfway point of the 2014 session of the General Assembly.

Talking to a group of reporters in his office, Pence said he is happy with the bills that have passed the House and Senate are now headed to the opposite chamber for consideration.

The Republican governor focused his comments on his key agenda items – a pre-kindergarten voucher program, the elimination of the business personal property tax, and more spending on highways. Pence said 23 of the 25 bills on his agenda are still alive – with 14 of those passing unanimously.

“This has been a productive session and Hoosiers will be happy when the gavel ends this session,” Pence said.

But not all of Pence’s priorities have passed as he proposed them. Pence wanted preschool available to all low-income students, but the bill passed by the Republican-controlled House would establish only a pilot program.

“We’re not proposing a universal program,” said House Speaker Brian Bosma, R-Indianapolis. “It’s very thoughtful, and we’re really dipping our toe in the water to see if it’s effective for Hoosier children.”

And, while Pence had wanted to completely phase out the business personal property tax – which is levied on equipment and supplies – bills passed by both chambers would only cut the tax, not eliminate it. But even those scaled-back proposals are facing opposition from local officials, who are complaining that they’ll suffer from lost revenue.

“I think we all see this as the most significant piece of revenue loss coming down the road that local governments have ever seen in the state of Indiana,” Indiana Association of Cities and Towns President Matt Greller said last month.

But Pence has emphasized he doesn’t want to unduly burden local governments. On Thursday, he said, “Last year was for tax cuts, this year is for tax reform.”

The Pence administration has endorsed both the House and Senate property tax bills. On Thursday, Pence said they could be improved – although he didn't say how.

But when discussing transportation the governor was clear. “Roads mean jobs,” Pence said.

The House has endorsed Pence’s plan to free up $400 million in Major Moves funds that had been set aside for future projects. The governor said Thursday that the Department of Transportation will be working on major changes to roads and improving infrastructure in a way that will make Indiana more attractive for economic development.

Pence also said that it’s important for Indiana to use the money now – rather than saving it for at least another couple years, as was originally contemplated – because inflation means state would lose $56 million in purchasing power.

Still, Senate Appropriations Chairman Luke Kenley said last week he’s skeptical of the governor’s plan, which will be headed soon to his committee. And he’s not buying the argument about inflation.

“That sounds like we’re just going spend it on the same old things, but we’re using a justification that if you spend it to today, it’s worth more money to you,” Kenley said.

Instead, he’s pushing for the money to be spent on major projects “we would not ordinarily contemplate,” including making Interstate 65 a six-lane road from Gary to Louisville and I-70 six lanes from Terre Haute to Richmond.

“I think it would be good for the state of Indiana economically and for the driving public,” Kenley said.

Bosma said the House transportation bill assumes the money will be spent on those types of big projects – even though the legislation doesn’t designate them. Those choices, he said, should be left to transportation experts.


  • Repbulican Cronies Bend Over for Governor
    I have to laugh at Pence's remarks. Of course he is happy with the legislative process--all his Republican cronies are doing what he wants even if it does not make sense or leaves unanswered questions. Let's eliminate a business tax on property but no solution on how to offset the tax revenue losses to cities; let's eliminate common core standards and replace them with another set of undefined standards that will continue to keep Indiana students in the bottom half of the states; let's eliminate the prospect of civil unions, and on and on..... I can't wait to vote against ole "shut 'er down" Mike in the next election.
  • Agree
    I agree with you both. If Pence's agenda is destroying the state on every point you've highlighted and more, then he's doing a fine job at that. I truly hope people remember the next time they vote to vote wisely.
  • Productive in destruction
    Just as a demolition crew is "productive" in dismantling a building, Pence is "productive" in dismantling our public education system. Defunding public schools, diverting money to private religious schools, abolishing educational standards, replacing teachers and professors with political appointees in crafting educational policies. It is just a matter of time until our education is just creationism and right-wing politically approved history. Handing our entire environment to highest bidder, weakening workers rights, starving and cutting out the need for the needy, and sticking his hands into women's health and any local issue where he happens to have personal disagreement. Hoosiers need to wake the heck up. Our State is not run by us, but by a dictatorial plutocracy.
  • Double Standard
    "Bosma said the House transportation bill assumes the money will be spent on those types of big projects – even though the legislation doesn’t designate them. Those choices, he said, should be left to transportation experts" But when a local community wants to have the right to vote on improving transportation options, it is up to distant legislators to decide what funding and mode are appropriate?

Post a comment to this story

We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
thisissue1-092914.jpg 092914

Subscribe to IBJ
  1. Cramer agrees...says don't buy it and sell it if you own it! Their "pay to play" cost is this issue. As long as they charge customers, they never will attain the critical mass needed to be a successful on company...Jim Cramer quote.

  2. My responses to some of the comments would include the following: 1. Our offer which included the forgiveness of debt (this is an immediate forgiveness and is not "spread over many years")represents debt that due to a reduction of interest rates in the economy arguably represents consideration together with the cash component of our offer that exceeds the $2.1 million apparently offered by another party. 2. The previous $2.1 million cash offer that was turned down by the CRC would have netted the CRC substantially less than $2.1 million. As a result even in hindsight the CRC was wise in turning down that offer. 3. With regard to "concerned Carmelite's" discussion of the previous financing Pedcor gave up $16.5 million in City debt in addition to the conveyance of the garage (appraised at $13 million)in exchange for the $22.5 million cash and debt obligations. The local media never discussed the $16.5 million in debt that we gave up which would show that we gave $29.5 million in value for the $23.5 million. 4.Pedcor would have been much happier if Brian was still operating his Deli and only made this offer as we believe that we can redevelop the building into something that will be better for the City and City Center where both Pedcor the citizens of Carmel have a large investment. Bruce Cordingley, President, Pedcor

  3. I've been looking for news on Corner Bakery, too, but there doesn't seem to be any info out there. I prefer them over Panera and Paradise so can't wait to see where they'll be!

  4. WGN actually is two channels: 1. WGN Chicago, seen only in Chicago (and parts of Canada) - this station is one of the flagship CW affiliates. 2. WGN America - a nationwide cable channel that doesn't carry any CW programming, and doesn't have local affiliates. (In addition, as WGN is owned by Tribune, just like WTTV, WTTK, and WXIN, I can't imagine they would do anything to help WISH.) In Indianapolis, CW programming is already seen on WTTV 4 and WTTK 29, and when CBS takes over those stations' main channels, the CW will move to a sub channel, such as 4.2 or 4.3 and 29.2 or 29.3. TBS is only a cable channel these days and does not affiliate with local stations. WISH could move the MyNetwork affiliation from WNDY 23 to WISH 8, but I am beginning to think they may prefer to put together their own lineup of syndicated programming instead. While much of it would be "reruns" from broadcast or cable, that's pretty much what the MyNetwork does these days anyway. So since WISH has the choice, they may want to customize their lineup by choosing programs that they feel will garner better ratings in this market.

  5. The Pedcor debt is from the CRC paying ~$23M for the Pedcor's parking garage at City Center that is apprased at $13M. Why did we pay over the top money for a private businesses parking? What did we get out of it? Pedcor got free parking for their apartment and business tenants. Pedcor now gets another building for free that taxpayers have ~$3M tied up in. This is NOT a win win for taxpayers. It is just a win for Pedcor who contributes heavily to the Friends of Jim Brainard. The campaign reports are on the Hamilton County website. http://www2.hamiltoncounty.in.gov/publicdocs/Campaign%20Finance%20Images/defaultfiles.asp?ARG1=Campaign Finance Images&ARG2=/Brainard, Jim