Commentary: Indiana proves tax reform works

By Kyle Hupfer
Special to TheStatehouseFile.com

America’s tax system, to put it bluntly, is out of control. It takes tax-paying Americans over 6 billion hours each year to comply with the dizzying rules and regulations that accompany filing the typical Form 1040. That’s probably no real surprise considering there are 241 pages of complex instructions attached to the 79-line form most Americans file every April. But while complexity might be the preference of Washington, simplicity and fairness is what Hoosiers prefer. And it’s what Hoosiers get.

Kyle Hupfer is the state chairman of the Indiana Republican Party.

That’s why I was pleased to watch President Donald J. Trump kick-off a push for much-needed federal tax reform in Springfield, Missouri, recently. Standing in the city most closely associated with “America’s Main Street,” Route 66, the president said, “Americans know better how to spend their own money,” and that he wants to “help them keep as much of that hard-earned money as we can.”

It’s that very philosophy that has led to explosive job creation and economic growth in Indiana in recent years. We know firsthand what happens when you put Hoosier taxpayers first, and now President Trump wants to put American taxpayers first after years of suffering through burdensome regulations, daunting legalese and perfectly curated loopholes that benefit the select few.

The good news, as the story typically goes these days, is that Indiana has already sketched out the blueprint for how tax relief works and how it benefits everyone across the board. In fact, we have proven that there is a direct correlation between tax relief – namely reducing the number and size of taxes – and economic development. As our taxes have been cut, capped and eliminated, jobs have come from across the country and around the world. 

Case in point: our unemployment rate today sits at 3.1 percent, which is well below the national rate of 4.4 percent and significantly below the rates in neighboring states such as Michigan, Illinois, Ohio and Kentucky. And the news is getting better. The Indiana Economic Development Corporation reported in late July that over 17,000 new, high-wage jobs have already been announced this year.

Some of those new jobs are coming from unlikely places. For instance, it wasn’t that long ago that Hoosiers were scurrying across our border with Illinois to live closer to the nation’s third largest center of commerce. But now, years into making Indiana one of the most business friendly states in the nation, Illinois-based companies are doing the reverse and making Indiana their home. And they aren’t the only ones.

In just the three-year period of 2012-2015, Indiana benefited from international investments from foreign-owned companies that totaled $6 billion and created 20,000 new Hoosier jobs. 

That’s just some of the real measurable success that has come as a result of cutting income taxes by 5 percent, taking them from 3.4 percent to 3.23 percent; cutting our corporate tax rate, which topped out at 8.5 percent in 2012, to 4.9 percent by 2021; capping property taxes that were creeping up and up and up in localities across Indiana; and eliminating the inheritance tax.

This taxpayer-focused mentality, practiced by proven leaders such as Governor Mitch Daniels, Governor Mike Pence and Governor Eric Holcomb, has taken Indiana, as Governor Holcomb says, from laggard to leader. Now, with one of those leaders serving in The White House alongside President Trump, I’m confident that hard-working American taxpayers will reap the rewards of a similar set of forward-looking policies that jumpstart our economy and create good-paying jobs that will help families thrive once again. Hoosiers proved it can be done. Now let’s do it.

Kyle Hupfer is the state chairman of the Indiana Republican Party.

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