INDIANAPOLIS – Gov. Mike Pence signed into law the state’s new two-year budget Wednesday, which includes a five-percent income tax cut phased in over the next four years.
“This is a jobs budget, and it signals that Indiana is open for business,” said Pence.
The governor also vetoed two pieces of legislation, including a bill that would require certification for music therapists and dietitians, and a bill that would license diabetes educators.
“Lower taxes and less regulation, including fewer licensing requirements, will mean more jobs for Hoosiers,” said Pence. “I am vetoing these licensing bills because I believe they create barriers to the marketplace for Hoosiers and restrict competition.”
Pence’s earlier announcement that two bills would be vetoed had raised the hopes of opponents of Senate Bill 621, which reorganizes parts of Marion County’s government. Some opponents have called the bill a “power grab” for local Republicans.
Pence said he was still considering the bill Wednesday.
“We’ve been meeting with parties on both sides of that issue,” said Pence. “I had opportunities to sit down with supporters of that legislation as well as those who have concerns about the legislation.”
The bill would eliminate the county’s four at-large council seats, which are all currently held by Democrats. It also creates new rules for county officials relating to budget control and other policies, including a provision that requires absentee ballots be counted at one central location.
“We are remaining hopeful that the governor will see that this particular piece of legislation is irresponsible,” said Marion Co. Clerk Beth White. “It’s really a terrible idea. It increases our costs, it delays results (and) it’s going to cost us tens of thousands more dollars.”
“We’re just actively evaluating the issue from the standpoint of what’s in the best interest of our capital city and what’s in the best interest of the long-term prosperity of the state of Indiana,” said Pence.
Certainly, it’s a bill that Zach Adamson doesn’t like—he’s one of the four at-large councilors whose position would be eliminated after the next election.
“I think anytime you diminish the representation of the people it’s a bad thing,” Adamson said.
Pence has until the end of the week to sign or veto the bill. If he does neither, it will still go into law without his signature by week’s end.