You can't interview a candidate for governor in Indiana and not ask about their stance on property taxes. Property tax bills for landowners are going up because of the formula that's used to figure them. If the Department of Government and Local Finance had gotten its' way, they would be even higher this year. That extra increase still hangs over farmers for 2013, although it was set aside for this year.
Here's what Mike Pence thinks about property taxes, and taxes in general. He also addresses another key issue that Hoosiers consider important, especially in rural Indiana – roads and bridges.
IPF: Farmers are seeing rising property tax bills. How would you deal with the property tax issue?
PENCE: I supported the property tax caps. That protects homeowners and farmers. We would be committed to working with the Indiana General Assembly to find a permanent solution to the issue (as it affects farmers.) The property tax bill could rise 20% for farmers (next year). That is a real threat to the stability of family farms.
One of the first things we would do is seek a 10% reduction in income tax across the board. We want to be competitive with the best ag tax system in the Midwest. I would ask the lieutenant governor to get involved in this discussion to make sure our ag tax system is competitive.
Agriculture is one of the pillars of our economy. The other pillars are manufacturing, logistics and life sciences. These are our strengths in Indiana.
PENCE: Major Moves was a bold stroke. It brought in billions of dollars so the state could tackle projects that people had only dreamed about for years. The first order of business will be to finish the work that is started. That includes finishing I-69 and seeing that US 31 is stoplight-free to South Bend. The difference between where we will come in and before Major Moves is that there was a lot of work planned and on the shelf, waiting for funding. The opposite is true now – there aren't a lot of plans left on the shelf. We would bring broad and diverse groups together to discuss what the infrastructure for Indiana in the 21st century should look like if we want unbridled growth.
Then we must discuss how we would fund these projects. There are options, including public and private partnerships, road revenues, federal money and private investments.