Sunday, March 2, 2014

Pence Agenda Not Faring Well in General Assembly

With the current session of the Indiana General Assembly drawing to a close, it appears Gov. Mike Pence's legislative agenda has not fared particularly well, even with Republican supermajorities in both the senate and the house. Here's how the Indy Star's political reporters Tony Cook and Barb Berggoetz describe the status of Pence's major initiatives:

With just two weeks left in the session, his preschool voucher program could be headed for a summer study committee, his efforts to phase out a key business tax have received only token support, and Senate Republicans have cut in half his request for $400 million in highway funding.

Other Pence proposals also have encountered problems.

He wanted to offer stipends to teachers willing to work at low-performing schools, but a Senate committee stripped funding from that proposal. He wanted to increase family income tax exemptions with inflation, but that idea is stalled in another Senate committee. And he wanted to create a fund to reward innovative teachers, a proposal that didn't even get an initial hearing.

IPFW political scientist Andy Downs thinks things are not going well for Pence. "You would expect him to have a far better track record. I think it's safe to say he's not having a particularly good year. You might say he took on way too aggressive an agenda and is paying the price now." Downs thinks this lack of major accomplishments will impact Pence's presidential ambitions.

Read the Star's complete analysis of Pence's legislative agenda here.