Indiana House Democratic Leader Scott Pelath of Michigan City is critical of the Governor's recently announced legislative agenda for 2014. Pelath says he agrees with the governor on improving crumbling infrastructure, but says "the vast majority of tax breaks being proposed are being lavished on corporate board rooms and not families". One major point of contention already brewing between parties is Governor Pence's proposal to phase out the personal property tax businesses pay on equipment.
State Representative Pelath's statement:
"From an initial look at his agenda, the Governor is not offering a striking vision of where Indiana needs to go.
"I agree that we must improve our state's crumbling infrastructure, and I applaud his desire to help families with child care.
"But as I look at the scope of these proposals, I wonder how he plans to reconcile new spending with his own reputation as a rabid fiscal conservative. I also wonder how fellow Tea Party politicians will react to any deterioration of their precious state surplus, which they value more than the prosperity of our citizens.
"And I cannot help but think that this agenda continues the recent tradition of leaving our state's middle class by the side of the road.
"Consider that once again, the vast majority of tax breaks being proposed are being lavished on corporate board rooms and not families. Despite recent improvements in Indiana's unemployment rate, our state still lags behind the rest of the country, and it is becoming rapidly apparent that consistently cutting taxes for those with all the power and all the money is not doing anything for middle-class pocketbooks.
"In fact, this trend toward more corporate giveaways is going to end up hurting families who will not find much protection from the property tax caps, and local units of government that again will be forced to choose to cut services or increase fees to pay for them.
"Once again, the improvements in our state's educational system are weighted toward vouchers and charter schools available only to a select few. Our traditional public
classrooms are forgotten.
"Since there may be some criticism of this agenda from members of the governor's own party, I simply will add that House Democrats will study this program in-depth in
the weeks leading up to the start of the 2014 legislative session, and we will be prepared to offer improvements where necessary and alternatives that make sense.
"It's not all bad. But our state has many problems that this agenda ignores."