INDIANAPOLIS | House Democratic Leader Scott Pelath on Friday demanded Gov. Mike Pence and House Speaker Brian Bosma more actively lead Republicans in passing legislation to create jobs.
"We know the governor says he cares about jobs, we know that the House majority said they care about jobs, but we're going to be now five weeks into session and (there's been) no immediate job-creating bills," Pelath said.
Dozens of measures that may create jobs for the 250,000 unemployed Hoosiers are awaiting action in House committees. Pelath, of Michigan City, said Bosma, R-Indianapolis, should bring those proposals to the House floor immediately and let representatives debate and vote on them.
"We have to do better and we have to move more quickly and I'm calling upon the majorities to do so," Pelath said.
Pelath said Pence is wasting his new governor "honeymoon" period by not identifying legislation Pence believes is essential for improving the state and then persuading lawmakers to get behind it.
"I would like the governor to say, 'I want these bills passed.' It's not that difficult," Pelath said. "When Gov. Daniels started, you knew which bills were his. I didn't like a lot of them, but you knew they were his."
Pence has proposed reducing the state's income tax rate over the next two years to 3.06 percent from 3.4 percent, a 10 percent cut he claims will create jobs.
However, lawmakers are delaying action on that until the revised state revenue forecast is issued in April to determine whether Indiana can afford the suggested tax cut.
The governor has been cagey about his positions on other legislative proposals. He told reporters Wednesday he's taking a wait-and-see attitude on most measures working their way through the General Assembly.
Pelath said Friday that's not good enough. He said Pence needs to get out of his second-floor Statehouse office and work more closely with the Legislature, which meets on the third floor.
"We see always what happens with the legislative branch when the guidance doesn't come from the second floor; they tend to devolve into trivialities and things that individually help somebody but aren't the big ideas that we need to make Indiana better," Pelath said.