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Pence lets victory speak for itself

Speaker Brian Bosmright says House Democrats will return Statehouse. Bosmis shown file phowith House parlimentarian Bruce Munson. | Andy Lavalley~Sun-Times

Speaker Brian Bosma, right, says House Democrats will return to the Statehouse. Bosma is shown in file photo with House parlimentarian Bruce Munson. | Andy Lavalley~Sun-Times Media, file

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Updated: May 30, 2013 2:27PM



Politics is the only game where you can get half of what you wanted and still call it a victory.

As the final draft of the budget cleared the General Assembly last week, the big news from the governor’s office came out that they reached a compromise on a 5 percent tax cut, one that taxpayers won’t even begin to see until the next budget cycle.

Through the gubernatorial election and the 2013 legislative session, Gov. Mike Pence has put a hard line on his 10 percent tax cut.

The highlight of his budget? A 10 percent tax cut.

What was missing from the House budget? A 10 percent tax cut.

And when the Senate offered their budget proposal? The cut was at 3 percent.

That wasn’t enough.

So Pence took a stand, insisting that he would convince the Republican legislative leaders that his tax plan would be the right move for Indiana.

The House and the Senate, both controlled by Republican majorities, made it clear they weren’t interested in the 10 percent tax cut at the time.

They worried that the cut over the long run would be unsustainable, and they wanted to put more money into education and transportation infrastructure.

In March, when the legislative session reached the halfway mark, Americans for Prosperity stepped in. Paying for web, radio and T.V. ads in the state pushing for the tax cut, some even claiming that the Republicans were spending money like it was going out of style.

Even two weeks out of the end of the session, Pence was only willing to bend on how the tax cut would be phased in, not on how much the cut would be.

But Thursday, the governor and the House and Senate leaders announced they reached an agreement. Pence stated that it was the right combination of relief “at the right time.”

Instead of a 10 percent cut, the budget would include a 5 percent cut, and wouldn’t begin to phase in until 2015.

The right time being two years down the road.

Other tax breaks include removing the inheritance tax, and lowering the tax rate on financial institutions.

Americans for Prosperity claimed it a victory, saying the General Assembly’s agreement for a tax cut means the taxpayers still have a voice.

But the conservative advocacy group could have done more harm to Pence’s efforts than good. At the end of the session, when asked if the efforts by the group hindered Pence’s chance at the 10 percent cut, House Speaker Brian Bosma, R-Indinapolis, said, “possibly.”

“I was concerned about Hoosiers,” Bosma said. “Everybody has the right to their opinion, but being called names from people outside of the state? I’ve been around politics long enough to let that roll off.”

He did agree that he thought the cuts in the budget were the right blend.

Considering that more elements from the House and Senate versions of the budget were present than from the governor’s, he doesn’t have to brag.

When you know you’ve won, you let the victory speak for itself.



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