Pence Comes To Fort Wayne: Sets Out 2014 Roadmap

By Jeff Neumeyer

December 19, 2013 Updated Dec 19, 2013 at 6:30 PM EDT

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (21ALIVE) ---Indiana's governor paid a visit to Fort Wayne Thursday, making his case for an end to a key business tax and creation of new benefits for Hoosier families.

Governor Mike Pence also used the occasion to talk about his ongoing squabbles with the state's top elected education official.

Mid-morning, the Republican Governor dropped into the Boys & Girls Club headquarters on Fairfield Avenue.

On his wish list, using Major Moves money to pay for a $400-million highway expansion plan.

" You know I like to say, if you're going to say you're the crossroads of America, you better have the roads to back it up, right," Pence said.

Pence is also intent on following the lead of Ohio, Illinois and Michigan in getting rid of Indiana's business personal property tax on things like machinery and inventory.

" In the competition for jobs I believe this is the next natural step in tax reform.”

The Governor insists removing the tax will help attract new companies and jobs to replace any lost revenue.

With charter school kids sitting behind him, Pence lobbied for creation of a state tax credit for families who adopt.

Pence also made a stop at the Grand Wayne Center.

During the trip, he laid out economic initiatives, and spoke about his education agenda for 2014.

That's been a controversial subject for the Governor his first year on the job.

Pence and Democrat State Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz have been at odds for months over education policy.

The Indiana State Teachers Association is warning its membership that simmering tensions could explode Friday, claiming the Republican-dominated state board of education is poised to strip Ritz of some of her authority.

Pence says both sides are doing their level best to get along.

" We've been working over the past several weeks, very sincerely and in good faith, as her office has, to work through those disagreements."

The state education board indeed meets Friday, with a shot at settling disputes about how the board should operate going forward.

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