INDIANAPOLIS -  Gov. Mike Pence expressed disappointment with the budget proposed by the Indiana House Friday morning, which increases spending but offers no new tax relief for Hoosiers. He resolved to protect taxpayers in continuing budget negotiations.  

"I am very disappointed in the House budget proposal," Pence said of the House budget that omitted his 10% income tax cut and raised spending by $1 billion. "Despite having the largest budget surplus in history, this House budget increases spending without giving hardworking Hoosiers one cent of new tax relief. As our administration's budget clearly showed, we can afford to do both. Indiana can fund our priorities including increases for roads and schools and reduce the personal income tax. Since we can reduce taxes on every Hoosier, we should."

"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," Pence said. "With so many hurting in this economy, Hoosiers deserve better. Indiana recently cut taxes for businesses and estates. It's time for average Hoosiers to get a break. And income tax relief will create jobs. By allowing small businesses to keep more of what they make, we will make Indiana more attractive for investment. Our state is in a race for jobs with states across the country, many of which are reducing and reforming income taxes. Not only can we in Indiana afford to offer tax relief, we can't afford not to. If we stand still, Indiana will lose."

House Speaker Brian Bosma told HPI last week that the Pence income tax cut can be inserted into the budget as late as the conference committee. Bosma cited a billion dollar surplus in 1998 that digressed into a $1.4 billion deficit a few years later. “We don’t want to put ourselves in that position again,” Bosma said. “If the goal is to jump start the economy, we have to look at the results of a modest income tax cut. An individual entreprenuer making a half a million dollars will end up with $1,072 in their pocket. We’re looking to see if that modest tax cut impacts the economy or whether other tax cuts might do the same.”

As a guberantorial candidate, Pence announced the 10% tax cut last July. But in November, Bosma and Senate President Pro Tempore David Long - both Republicans - reacted with coolness to the proposal. Asked if they were consulted by the Pence campaign prior to the announcement, the answer was a chilly "no."

A number of Republicans have privately urged Pence to make another issue his No. 1 legislative priority, but Pence "doubled down" as many observers have noted, making a case for the tax cut in his State of the State address.

"It is still early in the legislative session," Pence said. "House leaders have committed to me that an income tax cut for middle class Hoosier families is still possible in this session. I take them at their word, and Hoosiers have my word. I will continue to fight to pass a balanced budget that meets our needs, funds our roads and schools, strengthens our reserves and lets hardworking Hoosiers keep more of what they earn."

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