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February 28, 2013

Pence vows to push tax cut ‘relentlessly’

GOP lawmakers have not warmed to the idea

INDIANAPOLIS — Having failed to convince state lawmakers in his own party to embrace his tax cut plan, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence is taking his message on the road.

At a press conference Wednesday, the Republican Pence said he was “burning up a lot of miles around Indiana” to convince Hoosiers that House Republicans are wrong to want to spend more money on roads and schools rather than pay for a 10 percent reduction in the state income tax — a key campaign promise he made last year.

Pence, repeating his oft-repeated phrase that he’s “very disappointed” that GOP lawmakers have so far rejected his tax-cut plan, said he’s going on the road to promote it “cheerfully, respectfully and relentlessly.”

He said he’s been traveling the state “at a pretty brisk pace, talking to Hoosiers in diners and at dinners and at everywhere in between” about the tax cut that Republican legislators have called unsustainable.

Asked if he planned to start running TV ads to bring pressure on Republican legislators, Pence declined to answer specifically, though said he wouldn’t be spending any money raised for his transition into office on “a political activity.”

He also wouldn’t rule out the possibility of vetoing the budget bill if it didn’t contain his proposed tax cut, though said it was too early to speculate.

Pence’s comments came two days after Republicans — who control the Indiana House — passed a $30 billion, two-year budget that increases funding for transportation infrastructure and education by more than $520 million.

Missing from the House plan is what Pence has said is his No. 1 priority: a reduction in Indiana’s individual income tax rate from 3.4 percent to 3.06 percent. It would reduce state revenues by $720 million in the first two years as it’s phased in, and $500 million a year after that.

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