By CHELSEA SCHNEIDER
Evansville Courier & Press
Among his proposals focusing on Hoosier families, Gov. Mike Pence wants Indiana lawmakers to create a state tax credit to help support adoptive parents.
Pence has said he wants Indiana to become “the most pro-adoption state” in the country as he’s unveiled his legislative agenda before the Indiana General Assembly convenes in January.
The governor is proposing a state tax credit aimed at helping parents offset adoption expenses.
Under his proposal, taxpayers benefiting from the federal adoption credit would be able to claim an additional credit on their state tax return. The state credit would be tied to up to 10 percent of the amount the taxpayer claims for the federal credit, according to Pence’s “2014 Roadmap.”
For 2012 tax returns, the federal government offered a maximum, nonrefundable credit of $12,650, with the amount increasing to $12,970 for 2013.
Pence also wants an interim study committee to explore faith-based and community adoption programs and how to better connect the state’s adoption services.
Easing the adoption process for Hoosier families is personal for Pence.
In speaking on his agenda in Fort Wayne this month, Pence shared how he and his wife went through the adoption process before their son was born.
“But to this day, we have always cherished and admired families that have gone through adoption,” Pence said, “and we have seen that there are all kinds of ways of putting families together and adoption is chief among them apart from the natural process.”
Sharon Pierce, president and CEO of The Villages, the state’s largest not-for-profit child and family services agency, said she is supportive of Pence’s plan.
“We’re very supportive of anything that would help encourage adoption and make Indiana more friendly to adoption,” Pierce, said. “We all know there are literally thousands of children in the country, and we assume over 1,000 in Indiana to be in need of a forever family.”
Pierce said the organization also would like to see lawmakers bring back a state adoption subsidy, which she said is especially helpful for families who adopt children with special needs.