Jill Long Thompson said this morning that if she is elected governor, she will focus economic development policy on broad issues, including expanding tax incentives, reforming health care and education policy.
Thompson, a former congresswoman and agriculture undersecretary who faces Indianapolis architect Jim Schellinger for the Democratic nomination, said incumbent Gov. Mitch Daniels has focused on "one business at a time" rather than on how broad policy issues affect business.
"Looking across Indiana, you see factories closing, families struggling to pay their mortgages, pay their taxes and keep up with the rising costs of health care," she said in a Statehouse news conference. "Once-thriving communities are slowly dying as people and businesses move away. And our current governor doesn't seem to have the solutions or seem to care."
Economic development incentives should be written into the tax code, Long said. She said incentive awards should take into account whether businesses offer health care, buy new technology, improve productivity and reduce environmental impact.
Thompson also said individuals should be given permanent tax deductions to offset their expenses for health care and continuing education.
State law should be changed to encourage businesses and individuals to buy health insurance through pools, which would cut costs, she said.
Regarding education, Thompson said the state should put more emphasis on vocational training in high schools and offering incentives for graduation.
A better-trained work force not only would attract jobs, but also would help existing companies replace retiring baby boomers, she said.