But on the topic of taxes, the institute suggests that Pence could have used more imagination on tax reform than his simple cut in income tax rates.
The report says Indiana has the ninth most regressive tax system in the nation, with the seventh-highest taxes on poor people. A regressive tax policy puts a heavier burden on low incomes than on higher incomes.
One source of unfairness comes from Indiana’s low personal exemption on income taxes. It’s been set at $1,000 per family member for the last 50 years. If it had kept pace with inflation, it would be around $7,600 today.
Hoosiers could use more tax reform, but improving job training should be an even higher priority.
In spite of our gloomy statistics on poverty, Indiana has managed to build a healthy state budget surplus. Training Hoosiers for better jobs would be a smart way to spend it.
— KPC News
Canada tragedy fuels rail-pipeline debate
The tragic loss of at least 13 lives in the Canadian border town of Lac-Megantic to a fireball of burning crude oil is sure to ramp up debate about how petroleum products should be moved across North America.
One sure talking point is that oil is moved more safely by pipeline than rail — a linchpin for proponents of the Keystone XL pipeline. But Saturday’s accident of a 72-car runaway fuel train should renew focus on just how safe those long black snakes of oil tankers are in a crash.
Depending on the government stats used, pipelines have been safer in terms of injuries and deaths and total spills than rail or truck when transporting oil and other fuel products. But pipeline spills resulted in average releases of more than 19,000 gallons per incident between 2005 and 2009. Tank cars averaged just under 1,700.
What is clear is that crude oil isn’t going to stop riding the rails to refineries. Although pipelines still move the bulk of crude oil, trains are carrying 10 times more than they were just five years ago.