Nati Hanik/AP/File
Republican vice presidential candidate Indiana Gov. Mike Pence speaks during a campaign stop in Council Bluffs, Iowa, Monday, Aug. 8, 2016.

Mike Pence is an experienced tax cutter

In just three years as governor, Republican vice presidential nominee Mike Pence successfully pushed proposals to cut income taxes, corporate taxes, personal property taxes, and completely eliminate the state’s inheritance tax.

Donald Trump’s choice for vice president, Indiana Governor Mike Pence, has only run the state since 2013 but he’s already built a reputation as a premier tax-cutter. In just three years as governor, Pence successfully pushed proposals to cut income taxes, corporate taxes, personal property taxes, and completely eliminate the state’s inheritance tax.

When Pence took office, Indiana’s 3.4 percent flat individual income tax rate was already the second-lowestin the nation (only  Pennsylvania’s 3.07 percent was lower). Still, in his first state of the state address, Pence pitched a 10 percent cut as an “affordable” way to “unleash half a billion dollars” into Indiana’s economy. The legislature eventually passed a 5 percent reduction, bringing Indiana’s tax rate down to 3.23 percent over the next two years.

The same legislation also immediately killed Indiana’s inheritance tax and repealed its dormant estate tax. The inheritance tax, which affected estate transfers greater than $250,000, was already scheduled to phase-out by 2022, but Pence and the legislature repealed the tax for the estates of all persons deceased after Dec. 31, 2012.

Pence proposed more tax cuts in 2014. That year, he signed legislation that will gradually lower Indiana’s corporate income tax rate from 6.5 percent in 2015 to 4.9 percent in 2021. The legislation also allows Indiana counties to trim personal property taxes for businesses—although Pence wanted to repeal the tax. He championed both proposals as ways to make Indiana more competitive with neighboring states, though the relationships between tax structure or even tax  reductions and state economic growth is mixed. 

Pence did not secure further tax cuts in 2015, but he signed a law that changes the rules for taxing the sale of certain manufacturing equipment. This simplification brought Indiana more in line with how other states treat these business-to-business sales. Pence proposed completely exempting such sales from tax, but the legislature passed the more modest change because of revenue concerns.

Unlike some other governors, Pence maintained Indiana’s balanced budget throughout his three years of tax cutting—mostly  by keeping his state’s spending growth rate below inflation.

Finally, the Trump campaign is sure to tout Indiana’s economic record during Pence’s tenure. Indeed, since Pence took office in January 2013, Indiana’s unemployment rate has fallen from 8.4 percent to 5 percent. But a state’s  economy depends on a lot more than what the governor does—especially in three short years. Besides, Indiana’s unemployment rate has roughly tracked the national average for decades, and did the same during Pence’s term, when the national rate fell from 8.3 percent to 4.7 percent.

That’s why it’s always better to examine what a governor can control: policy decisions. And Pence will win kudos from conservatives as a successful tax-cutter who kept his budget balanced with offsetting spending reductions. 

This article appeared first in TaxVox

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to

QR Code to Mike Pence is an experienced tax cutter
Read this article in
QR Code to Subscription page
Start your subscription today