Governor Pence – State of the State Address
(This is a joint post by Hoosier Access contributors Matt Brinkman and Rob Burgess. We want to thank the Governor’s staff for providing us access last night to an advance copy of the state of the state address and allowing us to live-tweet it from the Governor’s office.)
Since there was only 8 days of Governor Pence’s term to report on, this State of the State address was used more as an agenda roll out for the new administration. While this was expected, there was a lot of speculation on how Pence would approach his agenda in this new setting. For over a year now, Pence has been traveling the state talking about his Roadmap for Indiana. Many were concerned that this would be a rehashed campaign stump speech with applause breaks added. These authors were not included in that group. Governor Pence discussed how we can take Indiana from good to great. His first topic was the budget. He told of how we will increase funding for education, improve infrastructure in Indiana, and fully fund teacher pensions each of the next two years. While discussing the budget he also mentioned that it will be the goal to procure three percent of state contracts from veteran-owned businesses.
The part of the speech that the Governor emphasized most was his across the board, 10 percent income tax cut for all Hoosiers. Governor Pence shared his reasoning behind this as Government should only collect what it needs. He compared government to families saying that government budgets shouldn’t grow faster than family budgets. He went on to give several reasons why this tax cut needs to happen now, with an emphasis on freeing up money for private sector investment which will lead to job growth. He also stated this tax cut would make Indiana the lowest tax state in the Midwest. He summed up his tax cut by saying we could do it and meet our budget obligations.
Governor Pence also discussed education. He started out by citing the number of schools that have improved their ranking over the last year. He went to state how his budget increases funding for schools along with an additional $6 million in teacher excellence grants to increase pay for high-performing teachers. He also addressed our voucher system which allowed 9,000 students to attend the school of their choice this year. He wrapped up the topic of education with his ideas on expanding vocational education.
Governor Pence took this opportunity to outline what he wants to accomplish that will make Indiana even greater. His plans are a practical approach to addressing the issues we face in the Hoosier state. While some may be concerned over cutting income taxes, the numbers don’t lie. This needs to happen now and our legislators should take action to do so. Our educational system is becoming the envy of the nation. The Governor’s plan expands on the ideas that got us into that position. In spite of a federal government that can’t accomplish much, it is great to be in Indiana where we are on the right track. Governor Pence concluded his speech by saying, “Let’s get to work!” We couldn’t agree more, as an even greater Indiana awaits.