Pence seeks public support for tax cut in South Bend

The tax cut proposal of Indiana Republican Governor Michael Pence suffered a serious setback at the Statehouse last week.

This week, Pence hit the road to try and dial up public pressure.

“Make no mistake about it, this is about jobs,” Pence told reporters in South Bend following a speech before the St. Joseph County Chamber of Commerce. By leaving $500 million in the pockets of working families, and by lowering the marginal income tax rates, we’re also going to help small businesses in Indiana.”

Last week, fellow Republicans on the House Ways and Means Committee scrapped Pence’s tax cut and instead came up with a budget that increases education spending.

“Hoosiers don’t have to choose between funding roads and schools and providing tax relief for working families and small businesses, we can actually afford to do both,” said Governor Pence.

Later today, Governor Pence visited the Chicory Café in downtown South Bend and had no problem finding people who find his tax cut to be their ‘cup of tea.’

“I mean times are tough for a lot of people right now and I think a little more money to spend would be good for our economy,” said Joe Schopmeyer of South Bend.

“Leave it in my pocket, I’ll put people to work, take it away from me, there’s only so much I can do,” said Chicory Café owner Phil Schreiber.

But there is evidence that the St. Joseph County Chamber of Commerce has its own reservations about Pence’s plan.

The chamber’s legislative committee discussed the proposed tax cut last week, but members were too divided to either support or oppose it.

“Because of how small businesses file their tax returns they would see some great benefit, there’s a strong support of the cut from that standpoint,” said Chamber of Commerce President Jeff Rea. “At the same time, there were probably about an equal amount of business leaders that were saying, you know what, at a time when we have a little bit of surplus, let’s think about restoring cuts to education.”

Jeff Rea says that an updated revenue projection for the state that is due in April may also go a long way in deciding the fate of the tax cut proposal.

Indiana’s personal income tax rate is now 3.4 percent. The Pence plan would cut that to 3.06 percent over two years.

The tax cut would save the average taxpayer about $100 per year.


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