Pharos-Tribune

Opinion

November 14, 2012

KITCHELL: We're at a crossroad

We’re at the crossroads of America, and the crossroads of Indiana governors.

In a few weeks, Mike Pence will take over for outgoing Gov. Mitch Daniels. While some may be expecting four or eight more years of Daniels-style leadership, no two people are exactly alike and no two public officials govern exactly the same way either.

With the dust settling from last week’s election when Pence made the transition from being elected to a federal office to a state one, speculation begins on how a Pence administration will lead from here and what priorities he’ll have in the next four years.

Looking ahead, here’s what Hoosiers could be in store for beginning in January:

1. Persona. Daniels was an authoritarian, autocratic figure, but Pence appears to be less of a top-down leader. If his congressional experience served him well, he’s had several doses of humility because he’s had 334 colleagues who don’t always think or act in the same way.

2. Tax cut mania. The centerpiece of Pence’s campaign is a 10 percent income tax cut he said would put more money back in our pockets. But has he cleared this with House Speaker Brian Bosma and Senate President David Long first? Depending on the revenue stream for the state, it may not be feasible in 2013 or 2014. If the economy continues to rebound, Pence might be able to squeeze it through in 2015. Still, Long and Bosma will have to scramble to replace the revenue lost.

3. Regionalism. Daniels was the first Indiana governor from Marion County and his reign showed it. Indianapolis boomed while much of the rest of the state idled under  his tenure.

4. Health care. Pence has already gone on record as saying that he will not implement the state health exchanges established as an option through the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. But Indiana is rich with insurance companies, and as the law is gradually phased in, expect them to lobby Pence and legislators to keep more Indiana insurance  premium money in the state. It can only help the state economy.

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