[r82] Column: Indiana recognized as a national leader (5/13/2013)

Monday, May 13, 2013

Start Date: 5/13/2013 Start Time: 12:00 AM
End Date: 5/13/2013 End Time: 11:59 PM
Indiana recognized as a national leader

Adding to the accolades already received, Indiana was recently ranked as the best place to do business in the Midwest and the fifth best nationwide in a survey of more than 500 chief executives by Chief Executive magazine. The "Best & Worst States" survey has been conducted over the last nine years evaluating the states based on business tax policies, regulation, workforce quality and livability factors with Indiana’s ranking moving up eleven places since 2010. 

Indiana has been at the forefront of the nation’s recovery efforts since the recession because of its robust business environment and taxpayer-friendly tax climate. Many states approached the recession with tax increases to maintain collection levels, but this only hindered economic growth and restricted the hiring capabilities of small businesses. Look no further than Illinois to realize the Hoosier way of fiscal conservatism and cutting bureaucratic red tape is a winning strategy as our neighbors are consistently ranked near the bottom for business and taxpayer friendliness and have to deal with a $100 billion unfunded pension system.

In the Legislature this year, we wanted to keep the momentum going as we continue to outpace the nation in private sector job growth by providing additional tax relief for Hoosiers. The tax cut package in the budget will provide the most state relief in Hoosier history. The inheritance tax has been eliminated, saving Hoosiers money and reducing the size and scope of government. The income tax will be reduced by 5 percent, and the corporate income tax and financial institutions tax will be reduced to 6.5 percent. Once the entire tax cut package has been fully implemented, taxes will be reduced by more than $650 million per year.

The budget also includes more funding for priorities like education, roads and bridges, workforce development and public safety, all the while keeping prudent reserves and a structural surplus in place to keep the state’s coveted triple-A bond rating. Indiana even has the capabilities to cash-fund university projects to the tune of $225 million, lowering the debt burden facing Hoosier taxpayers by nearly $160 million. The state will also pay off bonds worth $128 million on two facilities. There aren’t too many other states that can tout similar accomplishments as we are truly in an enviable position.

In the Chief Executive ranking, it mentioned, "The federal government may be a tax reform wasteland but the states are out there competing with gloves off.” Ensuring Indiana is competitive for job growth is a constant battle with other states. It’s important to be able to attract companies to locate here or provide the tools for start-ups to get the necessary capital to be successful. But, there is a needed balance, and the General Assembly has worked hard to make sure vital services have the necessary resources and funding, while maintaining a relatively low tax burden.