The Herald Bulletin

January 17, 2014

Editorial: Hoosiers expect more from State of State

The Herald Bulletin

---- — Hoosiers exude a can-do spirit.

They survive devastating tornadoes. Their first responders rescue folks during snowstorms. They hold onto hopes that the best is yet to come.

Sound like most Americans living in any state? Perhaps, but Hoosiers have that hard-working spirit and generosity that carries them through tough times. We’ve know that for decades.

And that was the problem with the annual State of the State speech by Gov. Mike Pence. There was nothing new. Although taxes and jobs were key points in the speech, Pence offered few specifics.

He mentioned that Indiana created more than 47,500 new jobs in the private sector last year. And in November, one out of every eight jobs created in the U.S. was based in Indiana. Those are encouraging numbers for this state. But Hoosiers aren’t sure if his comments referred to actual jobs or job commitments.

As he has done for months now, Pence urged legislators to phase out the state’s business personal property tax as a way to spur new investment. Yet he then introduced two business owners, including Nate Richardson of Coeus Technology in Anderson, as examples of Indiana success stories. Both, however, started their success while the tax was in effect.

And then, the speech started to meander from health care to education to the value of families. In these comments, Pence found a way to set the state off from the federal government — a move that still confounds Hoosiers. Pence wants little to do with Medicaid but more to do with public charter schools and pre-K programs for low-income children. He also took a jab at the debate over the debate to ban gay people from marrying in Indiana. Pence believes in “traditional marriage.” But even Republican legislators don’t want to debate the topic this session.

The conservative ideas espoused by Pence were expected. What was surprising was Pence’s lack of presenting a road map to achieve this wish list. He’s still leaving the elimination of the business personal property tax up to the Legislature, which may itself be looking for more guidance from the governor. He seems to be leaving leadership up to that Hoosier “can do” spirit.

It’s a spirit that has guided this state. But it would bolster every Hoosier’s spirit to have a leader with a clearer vision in reaching goals.

In summary Gov. Mike Pence failed to present a clear road map of his goals during his State of the State speech.