By Adrianna Pitrelli
PLAINFIELD, Ind. — Jennifer Wiese’s passion to feed her family of six tasty, gluten-free treats turned into a small business in 2010. Now, seven years later, the Noblesville-based business sells its products in 27 states.
“You’re selling your products in half the country?” Vice President Mike Pence asked Wiese at a round table discussion Thursday. “Wow, that’s impressive.”
Wiese was one of a half dozen small business owners who sat down with Pence, Gov. Eric Holcomb, Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta and Republican U.S. Sen. Todd Young to talk about how the tax overhaul plan would help their businesses.
“It would mean growth,” Wiese said. “We could create additional products and we could expand and get to other states we aren’t in.”
Pence traveled to TKO Graphix — a commercial printing company in Plainfield — for the discussion. All the business owners on the panel said the tax cut would help them expand their businesses.
“Congress is making steady progress with what Trump thinks is nothing short of a middle class miracle,” Pence said of the plan. “Tax cuts make American businesses more competitive.”
Pence and President Donald Trump have visited Indiana three times in the past two months to tout the tax overhaul plan that the administration hopes to roll out before the end of the year — but that takes work from lawmakers on Capitol Hill.
The House plan currently calls for cutting corporate taxes starting in 2018 from 35 to 20 percent. It would also simplify the tax code, lower rates and remove some deductions and exemptions.
Many everyday people would see a tax cut of more than $100 by 2019. By 2027, however, 20 percent of people could pay at least $100 more federal income tax than under current law.
The House Republicans are still finalizing the bill, but said they will bring it to the floor for discussion before Thanksgiving.
The Senate released its plan Thursday, which differs from the House version because it delays implementing a lower corporate tax rate until 2019. It also sets a top individual tax rate at 38.5 percent and keeps deductions for people with high medical bills and for student loan interest.
While most of Pence’s remarks were about the details of the plans Trump talked to Hoosiers about in late-October, he once again called out Democratic Sen. Joe Donnelly, asking for his support.
“I know Indiana can count on Sen. Todd Young. Indiana also need to be able to count on Sen. Joe Donnelly to vote for tax relief,” Pence said.
Donnelly was not in attendance but wrote a letter Tuesday to Pence saying he was pleased he was visiting the Hoosier state again to discuss tax reform. He encouraged the administration to keep American workers and their families in mind when creating the plan.
In the letter, Donnelly told Pence that he recently introduced the End Outsourcing Act, which would ensure federal tax breaks and contracts go to companies that invest in the United States and penalize companies that move jobs to other countries.
“My proposal has the expressed support of President Trump, and the United States Senate recently endorsed the framework by supporting my budget amendment noting that tax breaks should not go to companies that ship American jobs to foreign countries,” Donnelly said in the letter.
Young reacted to the vice president’s comments.
“I have heard from countless Hoosiers about the importance of providing tax relief,” Young said in a statement. “They want a tax code that is fairer, they want a tax code that is simpler and they want a tax code that allows them to keep more of their hard-earned money.”
Pence ended his remarks by saying Indiana small business owners will be winners when this plan is implemented.
“We are passionate about keeping a lot of that work right here in Indiana,” Wiese said. “We are focused on making things working here in Indiana.”
Adrianna Pitrelli is a reporter for TheStatehouseFile.com, a news website powered by Franklin College journalism students.