Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

Pence: Budget Needed Tax Cut ; but Schools, Roads Benefit

Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

Pence: Budget Needed Tax Cut ; but Schools, Roads Benefit

Article excerpt

INDIANAPOLIS - Gov. Mike Pence is at odds with Indiana House Republican leaders who opted not to include the top item on his first-year legislative agenda in their new state budget proposal. The governor said Friday he is "very disappointed" the two-year, $30 billion spending plan drops his plan to lower the individual income tax from 3.4 percent to 3.06 percent in favor of extra cash for schools and roads.

"By leaving income tax relief out this early in the process, this House budget proposal does not contain the kind of balanced approach that will create jobs and opportunities for Hoosiers. With so many hurting in this economy, Hoosiers deserve better," Pence said.

House Ways and Means Chairman Tim Brown, R-Crawfordsville, unveiled the GOP's budget proposal in a briefing with reporters Friday morning.

His plan would boost funding for K-12 public education - an area that accounts for more than half of Indiana's spending - by 2 percent in its first year and another 1 percent in its second year, lifting the statewide total from $6.5 billion annually now to $6.7 billion.

"We know that we need an educated workforce," Brown said.

It also would boost transportation funding by a total of $250 million per year. It would divert 20 percent of the sales tax charged on gasoline purchases into transportation, and also send more revenue from Indiana's 18-centper-gallon gasoline tax to the Indiana Department of Transportation and into municipal infrastructure budgets, rather than diverting some of that money to pay for state police and license branches.

The biggest debate moving forward, though, will be over Pence's tax cut - one that would save average single Hoosiers around $100 per year, and would cost the state more than $500 million per year.

House Speaker Brian Bosma, R-Indianapolis, said Thursday the House GOP is still open to considering Pence's proposal. …

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