Governor Mike Pence signs $30B state budget into law
Indiana Governor Mike Pence has signed the state's new two-year, $30 billion budget into law.
Pence said in a Wednesday statement after signing the budget bill that the plan includes $600 million a year in tax relief for Indiana residents and will boost investment in the state.
The budget approved April 27 by lawmakers includes a modest increase in school funding, new money for roads and highways and roughly $350 million in income tax cuts.
Pence says the new budget's combination of income tax relief, inheritance tax repeal and other business tax reductions will "help every Hoosier taxpayer, small businesses and family farmers" and make the state more competitive in attracting new jobs.
The budget includes $190 million for K-12 education and more than $600 million for roads and infrastructure.
Licensing bill vetoed
The governor also signed his first veto.
Pence vetoed HEA 1242 requiring licenses for diabetes educators and SEA 273, which created a license requirement for anesthesiologist assistants and dietitians, as well as state certification for music therapists.
He says fewer licensing requirements will create more jobs.
"I am vetoing these licensing bills because I believe they create barriers to the marketplace for Hoosiers and restrict competition," Pence said.
The governor's office points to statistics showing an increase in the number of Hoosiers who hold a professional license - from 340,000 in 2004 to 470,000 in 2013. That's a 38-percent increase, compared to the state's population which has increased seven percent during the same period.
"I have been willing to sign licensing legislation that opens new opportunities for employment or streamlines existing practices and procedures, and I will continue to do so," said Pence. "However, the bills that I am vetoing today do not meet that standard."
The governor has pushed for a restructuring of the existing Regulated Occupation Evaluation Committee "to reduce artificial barriers to employment." The new version of the committee, Pence argues, would have performed "sunrise" reviews of new occupational license legislation and a process to automatically sunset unnecessary licenses, permits and certifications.