Indiana Governor Mike Pence entered the Fox’s Den in Winamac Tuesday afternoon with a smile on his face and his hand extended to meet the many residents and business owners who gathered there and to discuss the state of Indiana, along with great measures the state is making in education and employment.
Governor Pence stated that small business is what makes Indiana a great place to be.
“I think small business in the city and on the farm is the backbone of Indiana’s economy,” explained Pence. “It’s one of the reasons why we drove so hard for the kind of tax relief that we passed in this most recent session of our state legislature. I was intent on continuing business tax reductions but I also noted that most small businesses file their taxes as individuals. We fought and managed to achieve a significant reduction in the individual income tax rate.”
The repeal of the inheritance tax, he said, was also an important step for farmers and small business owners.
“What sustains many small businesses in communities like Winamac and in counties like Pulaski County over the years is that inherited resource that goes from generation to generation. So making sure here in Indiana that as of Jan. 1 of this year, the inheritance tax is completely gone in Indiana. I think it’s a real boom to small businesses as well.”
Governor Pence added that the state is making strides in tackling the health care issue for Hoosiers.
“First and foremost with the flawed rollout of the Affordable Care Act, we’ve taken some decisive steps to make sure that Hoosiers who currently participate in programs for those with preexisting conditions don’t find themselves without insurance on Jan. 1 just simply because the federal government hasn’t successfully launched their effort. So we’ve made some efforts to make sure people don’t lose that coverage.”
The Healthy Indiana Plan will also be expanded with the capability of enrolling more Hoosiers, upwards of 10,000 more people.
“It’s a plan that’s very popular among people that are enrolled. It encourages people to take ownership of their own health care, it creates health savings accounts and we call them power accounts, and it is a very successful what is called consumer driven health care program. I think it’s right for people’s health and it’s right for the fiscal health of the state.”
The state is in negotiations now with the Obama Administration with the regards to expanding Medicaid.
“I hope to be meeting with Secretary Sebelius in the weeks ahead to discuss the possibility of using the Healthy Indiana Plan, which again is very successful and it’s working great for Hoosiers, as a framework for any Medicaid expansion in Indiana. We’re going in cautiously and carefully on that. I want to preserve Indiana’s ability to promote the right kind of healthcare coverage that is in the best interest of our people and also is the fiscal interest of our state. We’re going to continue to work diligently on those opportunities.”
The Governor pointed out that the state is at a five-year low in terms of unemployment where it stands at 7.5 percent. In the nation’s report card, the National Assessment of Educational Progress test found Indiana above the national average in math and reading scores in fourth and grades and the students showed the second highest improvement rate of any state. Indiana is also recognized as being one of the top places in the Midwest to do business.
To show his support of local organizations and to the people of Pulaski County, Governor Pence even made a donation to the local toy drive.
Pence reminded those in attendance to talk about Indiana to friends and business partners in other states and to boast how well the state is doing. “It’s the place to be.”