“A billion dollars is a lot of money.”
Pence said after his address that with Michigan considering phasing out its business personal property tax, Kentucky’s significantly lower tax and Ohio’s and Illinois’ absence of it altogether, it’s time for Indiana to look at it, too.
“As we looked at a broad range of areas of tax reform in Indiana, I just came to the conclusion that phasing out the business personal property tax is an idea whose time has come,” Pence said. “But I think it’s important to do it in a way that doesn’t disadvantage local communities or local schools and I’m confident that we can do that.”
Pence also discussed ways to reward teachers, outside of merit pay, for taking on difficult assignments or finding particularly effective ways to educate students.
He proposed creating a new teacher innovation fund to give grants for teachers who “have the best, scalable ideas for improving student outcomes.” The money could be used for classroom supplies so teachers don’t have to pay out of their own pockets.
He also discussed the possibility of a “Choices for Teachers” program, which would give a stipend to teachers who elect to teach in underperforming schools or charter schools with a high percentage of poor students. Goodin said he thinks the governor’s proposal to spend more money in charter schools with poor students speaks volumes about the move to support them in the last 15 years.
“To do that is basically ceding the fact that their experiment over the last decade and a half has been a failure,” Goodin said. “The Democrats, what we’ve preached for and asked for the last decade and a half is trying to properly fund public schools and properly fund traditional schools. He has finally come over to that idea and really seen the light now.”