State agency spends $300K to add mantra to buildings

A state agency has added Gov. Mike Pence's catchphrase to the facades of buildings in downtown Indianapolis at a cost of nearly $300,000 to taxpayers.

So far, the Indiana Economic Development Corp. has slapped the slogan "a state that works" on two buildings, using its existing promotional funds in a budget passed by the General Assembly. The large signs now appear on the One North Capitol high-rise and both sides of the Indiana Government Center North Building, the Journal Gazette of Fort Wayne reported.

The total cost for the signs, which are part of the agency's ongoing marketing campaign launched about two years ago, was $267,850, according to agency spokeswoman Abby Gras. The campaign's aim is to highlight reasons why Indiana is business-friendly.

"The three signs are an opportunity to communicate our brand to not only Indianapolis residents but to the more than 26 million people who visit our capital city each year," she said.

But the Indiana Democratic Party argues that the effort is wasteful spending.

"You'd think Gov. Pence could have used Hoosier tax dollars more wisely — like fighting the recent spike in child abuse and neglect cases or providing funding for domestic violence programs," said Drew Anderson, the party's communications director. "Instead, Hoosier taxpayers are using their hard-earned wages to promote Gov. Pence's economy."

The IEDC has been spending thousands of dollars to restore the state's image after lawmakers passed — and Pence signed— controversial religious freedom legislation, including $365,000 before canceling a contract with a global public relations firm and an unspecified amount in June for a Wall Street Journal ad claiming Connecticut businesses were hurt by a new tax increase.

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