Your Voice, Your Vote 2012: The Race for Governor
Left to right: Republican Mike Pence, Libertarian Rupert Boneham, Democrat John Gregg. (photo courtesy Indiana Debate Commission)
Indiana’s two-term limit for governors means Republican Governor Mitch Daniels will leave office in January. Hoosiers will choose from among three candidates to succeed him.
Both Republican Mike Pence and Democrat John Gregg say they’d build on Daniels’ efforts to create a friendly climate for business in Indiana. But the similarities largely end there.
Pence is calling for a renewed emphasis on vocational education in Indiana schools to give employers a better-trained hiring pool. He says students who want to go directly into the workforce instead of to college should have the skills to do so.
And the Sixth District congressman maintains a 10-percent across-the-board cut in the income tax would give the economy a double boost, by giving consumers more to spend while helping the 90-percent of Indiana businesses who pay taxes on the individual return.
Gregg is emphasizing his record of working with a Republican Senate as Indiana House speaker - and, for two years, with an evenly-divided House. He charges Pence's emphasis on the economy is just a cover for what he contends is Pence's true interest, in social issues. Gregg notes he and Pence are both anti-abortion, but he blasts Pence for leading an effort in Congress to ban federal funding for Planned Parenthood because it performs abortions. Gregg argues social issues tend to be issues where positions on both sides are etched in concrete, and that focusing on them is a distraction from job creation.
Gregg has proposed corporate income tax credits for all Indiana-based firms, or for out-of-state firms in selected areas such as advanced manufacturing.
Pence is calling for a further increase in state reserves, a move that would require changing the automatic tax rebate created by Governor Daniels. Gregg and Libertarian Rupert Boneham have the opposite problem with the rebate -- they say the state would be better served by using that money to restore more of the cuts made in school funding.
Boneham says other programs need more funding too, from public safety to the arts. And he says Daniels has centralized too many government functions that should be returned to the local level.
Pence says he’d seek to hold spending growth to one-and-a-half-percent. He says schools' focus should be on results -- he says test scores and graduation rates have improved despite the funding crunch of the last few years.