From: John C. Fox
Received: Feb. 6
I’ve noticed several editorials, both pro and con, in The Tribune and The Republic over the past several weeks regarding Gov. Mike Pence’s plans to cut income taxes in Indiana. Today, I noticed an article in the Wall Street Journal regarding several governors of states who have Republican majorities in their respective Statehouses. The title of the article is “Party Eyes ‘Red State Model’ to Drive Republican Revival.”
The article outlined the plans of the governors of Kansas, Nebraska, Oklahoma and Indiana to cut state income taxes below a level that will fund existing revenue needs, in the name of stimulating the state economy. Then the resulting, projected improvement in the state economy is supposed to increase tax revenues to erase the projected deficit.
You may recognize this economic theory, put forth by Arthur Laffer in the Reagan administration, which is commonly known as trickle-down economics, and hasn’t proven to be beneficial to government finance in the 35 years of application by the various Republican administrations since. The article’s main theme is that the national Republican Party is seeking to demonstrate its current philosophy in states where there is a Republican majority, since it cannot exercise these philosophies nationally.
At this juncture, I began to wonder where this experiment puts Indiana taxpayers, or if these plans serve Indiana or Mike Pence. Gov. Pence is obviously responding to his party’s wishes rather than the needs of Indiana taxpayers and is unconcerned about what happens in four or eight years when he moves on to a national office, which he is obviously seeking.
If this experiment works, which is not likely, the theory is proven right. If not, he can run for a different office as a tax-cutter. And it’s not like he succeeded a spendthrift; Mitch Daniels left Mike Pence a state with a surplus and funds in savings to cover unforeseen circumstances.
Mike Pence’s Washington experience dictates that neither of these is currently serving his goals well and is taking steps to spend these surpluses, one way or another. The Indiana taxpayer’s salvation is that most of the state legislature is not running for president and believes that they’ll have to live with a deficit if Republican economic theory doesn’t work.
I urge you to write your state senator and representative and ask him or her to vote against party-inspired tax cuts. Indiana was a responsibly-run state under Mitch Daniels, and only the Legislature will continue to see that Indiana has sustainable, appropriately managed finances.