INDIANAPOLIS | House Speaker Brian Bosma, R-Indianapolis, is not letting Republican Gov. Mike Pence's expressed disappointment with the House Republican budget go unanswered.
In a recent letter to GOP county chairmen, Bosma explains he and Senate President David Long, R-Fort Wayne, are willing and eager to work with the new governor, but Bosma said he's not convinced Pence's proposed 10 percent reduction in the state's income tax rate is the best course for Indiana.
"The most important job of state government is to be lean, efficient, and most importantly, sustainable in the long run, avoiding wild shifts in one direction or another," Bosma writes in the Feb. 19 letter. "With pending sequestration, looming federal mandates and an uncertain national economy on the horizon, caution is certainly advisable."
Bosma recalls that property and income tax cuts enacted after Indiana built a $2 billion surplus in 1998 led to a $1.3 billion deficit six years later and required "painful and difficult" budget cuts to pull out of.
The state's 2014-15 budget contained in House Bill 1001, which was approved by the House 68-28 on Feb. 25, increases spending on education and roads above what Pence sought and omits Pence's plan to reduce the state's income tax rate to 3.06 percent from 3.4 percent.
Pence has repeatedly said he's "disappointed" by the House-approved budget and hopes lawmakers will restore his income tax cut if the revised state revenue forecast issued in April shows Indiana can afford the $750 million revenue loss.
In his letter, Bosma apologizes for bringing county Republican leaders into the "family discussion" between the Legislature and the governor but says it's important that local Republican leaders know all the facts.
New Lake County GOP Chairman Dan Dernulc said he didn't receive Bosma's letter, but he shares Bosma's sentiments.
"I think the debate between our members in the House and the Senate and ultimately the governor is good, and we're talking about reducing taxes as opposed to increasing them," Dernulc said. "That's great for our party and our state in general."
Pence has hinted he'll soon start running television ads to gin up public support for his tax cut.