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Pence: State on right track, but too many Hoosiers out of work

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Gov. Mike Pence challenged members of the Kiwanis Club of Indianapolis to encourage out-of-state entrepreneurs to consider building their businesses in Indiana.

Pence told the club at its Friday meeting that Indiana is seeing faster job growth than 42 other states. He also said the state’s last economic forecast showed continued job growth, a decrease in unemployment and growth in the overall economic output over the next several years.

“These are the economic revenue forecasts upon which we built the fiscal integrity that our state currently enjoys,” Pence said. “They are cautious, they are careful, but they are optimistic.”

Pence said Site Selection Magazine ranked Indiana as the most competitive state for business in the Midwest and the second best state for business in the country. Similarly, Chief Executive Magazine ranked Indiana as the fifth best state in the country for business and the best in the Midwest.

But despite Indiana’s positive economic outlook, Pence said the state still has work to do to lower unemployment.

“There’s a great sense of optimism, there’s reason to be encouraged as Hoosiers, but this is a difficult time for too many in our state,” Pence said.

The governor’s speech came just two hours after Pence announced the creation of the Center for Education and Career Innovation, a new agency meant to coordinate the education and workforce development efforts of a number of other boards and departments.

Pence said earlier in the day that the new center would help the state focus on employment and training efforts to try to boost the state’s economy.

Indiana’s unemployment has remained around 8.4 percent over the last year, Pence said, and 250,000 Hoosiers are currently out of work. Pence proposed four strategies to the club that he said he believes will help the state improve its employment levels.

Pence said fiscal stability is the first step to growing the Hoosier economy.

“An honestly balanced budget and fiscal integrity is the foundation of our future prosperity,” Pence said.

He said he thinks the biennial budget the state General Assembly passed in the spring, which keeps spending increases at 2.5 percent each year and includes a surplus of more than $100 million over the next two years, is the basis of Indiana’s fiscal responsibility.

“While most states are broke and struggling with budget deficits, we enjoy a surplus – but it’s not by accident,” Pence said. “It is by the practice of the common sense principles of living within your means.”

Pence said businesses around the country want to talk to him about Indiana’s fiscal integrity because they are impressed by the state’s financial position.

Taxes and regulatory policies are also part of Pence’s plan to improve the Hoosier economy. Lawmakers voted to the individual income tax rate by 5 percent annually, and the state inheritance tax was eliminated in January.

“When (tax cuts) are fully implemented, it’ll be official: Indiana will be the lowest taxed state in the Midwest,” Pence said.

Pence signed a moratorium on new regulations in Indiana except those mandated by the federal government, a move Pence said was meant to give his administration the opportunity to reduce excessive regulatory policies.

“I really do believe that lowering taxes in a fiscally responsible way and cutting red tape is and must remain a centerpiece of our strategy for a growing economy,” Pence said.

Roughly $800 million in additional funding for roads was included in the state budget. Pence said the money will be used to improve existing roads, to finish projects like I-69 and to improve the state’s overall infrastructure.

“I believe, very simply, that roads mean jobs,” Pence said. “If you’re going to be the Crossroads of America, you better have the roads to back it up.”

Pence said he thinks by training students for technical and manufacturing jobs, more jobs will be filled throughout the state, thus lowering unemployment. Pence also said Indiana has ranked number first in the nation for manufacturing job growth for the last three months.

Many employers in manufacturing and technical businesses have jobs available, Pence said, but are struggling to find employees who have the necessary skills to fill the jobs. But, the governor said he believes by putting a greater emphasis on career, technical and vocational training in high schools, more Hoosier students will be prepared to fill available manufacturing jobs after they graduate.

“This isn’t just about doing what’s right for the economy…this is right for our kids,” Pence said.

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  • ?
    Why wont the employer treat them fairly? Sounds to me like they must work for abad employer
  • right to not work
    Sure glad to see Right to Work working so well in Indiana.
  • Standard of living lags too
    We have very low incomes coupled with low level of public services and that results in very low standard of living. Every one of our public services is understaffed. Transportation costs are through the roof because of lack of proper roads or mass transit. This state is on a rapid decline.
  • Shocking
    Besides the obvious result from massive public sector job cuts, I think we're all amazed that benevolent "Makers" haven't rushed to the state in the wake of new terrain 69, RTWFL, and Daylight Savings Time. Not to mention an almost sure thing of tax credits or abatements.
  • Bravo!
    Thank you for stating a real factor affecting economic growth and attracting entrepreneurs, who tend to be younger, smarter, and supporters of equality.
  • Thanks
    Thank you Governor Pence for standing firm against the Republicrats in your party and forcing an income tax cut. I appreciate that you value workers, unlike most politicians of both "parties." I might actually vote for you next time.
  • Don't Forget One Little Thing...
    Ah, yes, Mr. Pence, don't forget one little caveat: If you're a business with LGBT employees, and anymore, what business of any size isn't, please don't come to Indiana with the expectation that your employees will all be treated equally and fairly. Because, the reality is: they won't be.
    • oh sure....
      ...but what the Republicon Pence does NOT mention is that he and his fellow neo-cons (including former Budget Director/ Destroyer Mitch Daniels) CAUSED the Great Recession and obstructed EVERY attempt by the President of the United States to get the country back on track economically after they destroyed it with HUGE deficits caused by unpaid illegal wars/ war profiteering, financial ponzi schemes and fraud by their bankster criminal buddies and tax cuts for their rich friends...yeah Pence conveniently forgot to mention that HE helped cause it! http://reaganbushdebt.org/
    • Other ideas for job creation?
      Glad to see Governor Pence is continuing to focus on job creation. Please explain to us, Gov, how your unflagging support of transvaginal ultrasound legislation and efforts to ban gay marriage will bring more jobs to Indiana.
    • What?
      You mean cutting taxes and gutting public spending doesn't create jobs?

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    1. I'm a CPA who works with a wide range of companies (through my firm K.B.Parrish & Co.); however, we work with quite a few car dealerships, so I'm fairly interested in Fatwin (mentioned in the article). Does anyone have much information on that, or a link to such information? Thanks.

    2. Historically high long-term unemployment, unprecedented labor market slack and the loss of human capital should not be accepted as "the economy at work [and] what is supposed to happen" and is certainly not raising wages in Indiana. See Chicago Fed Reserve: goo.gl/IJ4JhQ Also, here's our research on Work Sharing and our support testimony at yesterday's hearing: goo.gl/NhC9W4

    3. I am always curious why teachers don't believe in accountability. It's the only profession in the world that things they are better than everyone else. It's really a shame.

    4. It's not often in Indiana that people from both major political parties and from both labor and business groups come together to endorse a proposal. I really think this is going to help create a more flexible labor force, which is what businesses claim to need, while also reducing outright layoffs, and mitigating the impact of salary/wage reductions, both of which have been highlighted as important issues affecting Hoosier workers. Like many other public policies, I'm sure that this one will, over time, be tweaked and changed as needed to meet Indiana's needs. But when you have such broad agreement, why not give this a try?

    5. I could not agree more with Ben's statement. Every time I look at my unemployment insurance rate, "irritated" hardly describes my sentiment. We are talking about a surplus of funds, and possibly refunding that, why, so we can say we did it and get a notch in our political belt? This is real money, to real companies, large and small. The impact is felt across the board; in the spending of the company, the hiring (or lack thereof due to higher insurance costs), as well as in the personal spending of the owners of a smaller company.

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