Haven’t we heard this song before? Congressman Mike Pence, who is running for governor, has proposed that the way to job growth is to reduce Indiana’s already anemic receipts from corporate taxes. Pence has an almost abiding, religious faith and hope in the willingness of Wall Street to create jobs and opportunity. To paraphrase one of the congressman’s Tea Party allies, Sarah Palin—“how’s that hopey, changey thing going for ya?”
Turns out unemployment sits at 9.1 percent, gas and food prices are high and consumer confidence is low. But the balance sheets of many of our largest corporations couldn’t be better. According to a July 27 Moody’s Investor’s Service report, U.S. non-financial companies were sitting on $1.2 trillion in corporate cash holdings at the end of 2010, up 11 percent from a year earlier.
Indiana’s sitting on a $1 billion surplus thanks largely to efforts to gut K-12 public education, rip holes in the safety net and starve infrastructure development. The Children’s Coalition, representing 25 service providers and advocacy organizations, recently released a report charging the state surplus was largely built on the backs of Hoosier kids—not the result of good fiscal management.
Maybe guys like Pence are so eager to blindly rail against government and the basic services delivered to Hoosiers that he just doesn’t care. How else to explain his proposal to even do away with the state’s inheritance tax that also helps provide needed state tax revenues? The view from the manicured lawns of his donors in places like Carmel, Avon and Fishers doesn’t give Pence an adequate understanding that there are a lot of Hoosiers out there hurting.
Relying on Wall Street captains of industry to steer new jobs our way hasn’t worked. Showering Wall Street companies with more tax breaks isn’t the answer.
Rather, public investments in job-creating projects like roads, bridges, parks and schools is a start.
Shaw R. Friedman, LaPorte