Democrats are crediting Republican leaders with improving the tone at the statehouse, but they‘re slamming the policy results as a “missed opportunity.”
House Minority Leader Scott Pelath (D-Michigan City) says the five-percent tax cut deal between G-O-P legislators and Governor Pence represents the worst of both worlds. He contends the tax cut is too small to stimulate the economy, but will siphon off a quarter-billion dollars that could have been spent to help the state in other ways.
House Democrats had backed either Pence‘s original 10-percent tax cut or their own sliding-scale version, which would have limited the cut to people earning less than 200-thousand dollars a year. Pelath notes the final tax compromise doesn‘t kick in for two years.
Pelath and Senate counterpart Tim Lanane (D-Anderson) also contend the decision not to expand Medicaid under the federal health care law forfeited the session‘s best chance to create jobs. Pence and legislative Republicans have insisted on tying expansion to federal approval for using the Healthy Indiana Plan as the vehicle for operating the program.
And Lanane says 70-million dollars set aside for job training in the new budget is a fraction of what‘s needed.