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Pence woos business prospects at New York Yankees game

August 7, 2015

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence is trying to woo new businesses to the state this week, treating relocation prospects to a $24,000 gathering at a New York Yankees baseball game this week.

The governor was in New York with other state officials and business leaders on a "jobs mission," targeting states that traditionally have higher taxes. The cost of Wednesday's baseball game outing included tickets and refreshments for 65 people, The Indianapolis Star reported.

The Indiana Economic Development Corp. says its budget paid for employees' expenses, and the governor's expenses were picked up by the agency's foundation. Pictures posted to the IEDC's Twitter account show Pence and others at Wednesday's Yankees vs. Boston Red Sox game.

During the trip, Pence courted businesses from New York, Connecticut and New Jersey. Pence, who traveled to the New York metropolitan region on Wednesday and Thursday, pitched Indiana as a low-cost, low-tax haven. The trip was the state's ninth "jobs mission" to other states.

"The focus of this jobs and economic development mission, like our other trips, is to share Indiana's story as a low-cost, low-tax, low-regulation state that works for business," IEDC spokeswoman Abby Gras wrote in an email. "During this particular trip, our delegation met primarily with location advisers, developers and company executives with site selection responsibilities."

Traditionally, trade missions target oversees business. But in recent years a number of governors, many in low-tax or Republican-leaning states, have sought to poach businesses from other states.

Indiana has also sought to recruit companies in California, Massachusetts and Illinois. Efforts to recruit Illinois businesses prompted the state's Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner to say he wants to "rip the economic guts out of Indiana."

In response the IEDC paid for an ad during the AFC Championship game between the Indianapolis Colts and the New England Patriots.

"Welcome Illinois-based Franklin Well Services to Indiana! Because Indiana has the economic guts to attract new business," the ad read.

Pence's political opponents don't think the governor should spend his time out-of-state trying to recruit business.

"The governor should be in places like Lafayette," Indiana Democratic Party Chairman John Zody said in a written statement, "where he could have seen firsthand why we need to use some of the $2.1 billion surplus to invest in our crumbling infrastructure."

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