The art of compromise seems to have worked in developing a state budget. However, the compromise was among Republicans.
Gov. Mike Pence sought a 10 percent cut in personal income taxes for Hoosiers — part of a campaign pledge he made. More cautious Republicans, including House Speaker Brian Bosma, thought the cut would be too harsh on state revenue. Most Hoosiers felt the same way, too, and all but rejected the Republican governor’s pledge.
Democrats, being by far in the minority in both chambers, rarely issued a peep about the budget. So Republicans come out the winners in the art of negotiating among their own party.
The budget plan essentially increases spending on roads by $400 million and schools by $330 million over the next two years but cuts personal income tax by 5 percent over the next four years. The best news is that the long-outdated inheritance tax will be eliminated. Bosma indicated the plan was “sustainable.”
The toughest element to accept, however, is that the budget plan pays off more than $12 million incurred by charter schools that had been deemed as “failing” by the state. While charter schools offer families an alternative to public schools, Hoosiers will all wonder if forgiving loans — granted it’s in the name of education — is a wise precedent to set.
Instead, the positive precedent is that calmer heads prevailed in the statehouse GOP in holding back from an unnecessary 10 percent personal income tax cut. Certainly, Hoosiers want relief from taxes. But there was no hue and cry demanding across-the-board tax slashing. Few Hoosiers were holding the governor’s feet to the proverbial fire in coming through on campaign promises. What the Republicans have given Hoosiers is a tax package that promises some relief along with a stable flow of revenue into the state.
Republicans have found a way to compromise with one another. Let’s see what happens if Democrats ever grab a little more clout in the Statehouse. But after all, compromise seems so much simpler when you’re negotiating with your own family.