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Indiana Tax Conference Speakers Say Tax Code Is Too Complex

Gov. Mike Pence and other tax authorities met Tuesday to discuss ways of simplifying the tax code.

Indiana's tax code is too complicated, Pence and others say.

Photo: JD Hancock (Flickr)

Indiana's tax code is too complicated, Gov. Pence and others say.

An Indiana Tax Conference held Tuesday focused on simplifying the state’s tax system.

Participants at conference included Arthur Laffer, the principal architect of Reaganomics, anti-tax activist Grover Norquist, and former Bush administration economic advisor Al Hubbard.

Their message is uniform: Indiana’s tax code is too complex and must be simplified to create a better environment for economic growth.

Norquist says pushing for tax reform and simplification must begin by pledging not to raise taxes. He points to Kansas, which is in the midst of a complete phase out of its income tax.

“Nobody finds their taxes increasing,” Norquist says. “As revenues come in through economic growth – more people working, people leaving Missouri and going over the border to Kansas where taxes are lower – that revenue is then spent in lowering rates for everybody.”

Governor Mike Pence says there are plenty of inconsistencies to address in Indiana’s tax code.

“This is not about revenues per se; this is about trying to look at a way that we can reform the tax code, lessen the burden of compliance on Hoosiers and Hoosier businesses and create a more attractive environment for investment through tax simplification,” Pence says.

Pence wouldn’t get into more specifics, saying the conference and upcoming legislative study committees will form a plan for next session.

But House Minority Leader Scott Pelath says the conference won’t produce new ideas because the voices being heard from are the same ones who have crafted Indiana’s economic policies for a decade.

“You have to go on the track record,” Pelath says. “Here, simplifying has meant that consumers and workers should pay more of the burden and the people who are running the state ought to pay less.”

Pelath says the average household income in Indiana has dropped by more than $6,000 in the last ten years while the gap between the average incomes of the state’s top 1 percent and the bottom 99 percent have widened.

Brandon Smith, IPBS

Brandon Smith, IPBS has previously worked as a reporter and anchor for KBIA Radio in Columbia, MO, and at WSPY Radio in Plano, IL as a show host, reporter, producer and anchor. Brandon graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a Bachelor of Journalism in 2010, with minors in political science and history. He was born and raised in Chicago.

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  • Bob Eckert

    Oh NO! Back to the failed Reagannomics (“trickle down from the rich”) policy!!!

    Grover Norquist is the political blackmailer who said our representatives must sign a document saying NO NEW TAXES UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES or I will see to it that you are booted out of office. That threat and the cowards who signed it, are the reason that we went into incredible debt by not putting 2 major wars (Iraq and Afghanistan) into our actual budget, by just borrowing money hand over fist to finance it. Now we are paying for that ridiculous budgetary scam. This “conference” is really about how Pence and our Republican feudal lords (we have no Democratic representation at the state level that has any ability to do anything, just like Congress) will warp our tax code to the maximum possible to favor business at the expense of K-12 schools, higher ed, infrastructure (look at the mess they are having to fix between Bloomington and Martinsville, even before they turn a shovel of earth for I-69), the shrinking middle class, moving away from coal fired power plants (this is 2014 and we are in the 1950′s) and on and on. The rich get richer and in return will finance Pence’s run for the White House.

    “Participants at conference included Arthur Laffer, the principal
    architect of Reaganomics, anti-tax activist Grover Norquist, and former
    Bush administration economic advisor Al Hubbard.”

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