INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Gov. Mike Pence signed Indiana's
new two-year, $30 billion budget into law Wednesday, praising its tax
relief measures and other provisions as incentives that would lure new
investment and jobs to the state.
The Republican governor signed the budget bill in Crawfordsville as he
was surrounded by workers at Crawford Industries, a maker of plastic
binders, boxes and other products.
Lawmakers approved the budget April 27 after paring down Pence's
original request for a 10 percent cut in the state's personal income
tax to a 5 percent cut that will be phased in starting in 2015. The
budget also includes a modest increase in school funding, and new
money for roads and highways.
Pence said in a statement that those tax cuts worth about $350 million
combined with repeal of the state inheritance tax and business tax
reductions will help taxpayers, small businesses and family farms. He
said the budget will provide about $600 million in tax relief and make
Indiana more competitive in job creation and attracting investment.
"This is a jobs budget, and it signals that Indiana is open for
business," Pence said. "By preserving Indiana's strong fiscal
position, increasing funding for schools and roads, and giving
Hoosiers $600 million a year in tax relief, this budget will encourage
investment in Indiana."
The new budget includes $190 million for K-12 education and more than
$600 million for roads and infrastructure, restoring some of the
funding cut under former Gov. Mitch Daniels during the recession.
Pence thanked lawmakers involved in crafting the new budget, which
Indiana Democrats have said provides its biggest tax savings to
wealthy Hoosiers and businesses while the middle class would see few
benefits. Democrats also have said that Republicans who control the
governor's office and both legislative chambers were shortchanging
education by increasing school funding 2 percent in the budget's first
year and 1 percent in the second, after big cuts were made during the
House Speaker Brian Bosma, however, called the new state budget a
victory for Indiana taxpayers.
"We passed a balanced budget with no tax increases; we are living
within our means; and we passed the largest tax cut in Hoosier
history. This is what it looks like to have a government that works
for the people," Bosma, R-Indianapolis, said in a statement.
Pence on Wednesday also exercised his first vetoes as governor since
taking office in January, rejecting two bills with new licensing
requirements that he said would "create barriers."
The governor vetoed a bill requiring licenses for diabetes educators
and a measure creating new license requirements for anesthesiologist
assistants and dietitians, as well as state certification for music
Pence said he vetoed the bills because he believes Indiana needs
fewer, not more, licensing requirements. He said both bills do not
meet his standard of licensing legislation that opens up new
employment opportunities or streamlines existing practices and
"I am vetoing these licensing bills because I believe they create
barriers to the marketplace for Hoosiers and restrict competition,"
His statement said that licensing in Indiana had "exploded" during the
past decade. Pence said that in 2004, about 340,000 Indiana residents
held a professional license, but that there are now more than 470,000
Hoosiers with such licenses.
He noted that was a 38 percent increase in licenses during a time-span
when Indiana's population increased only 7 percent.
Indiana's lawmakers are scheduled to reconvene on June 12 to consider
overrides and technical corrections. A simple majority is needed in
both the House and Senate to override an Indiana governor's veto.