Governor Mike Pence will convene a tax conference in Indianapolis this week that he says will bring together leading tax reform thinkers to focus on making Indiana’s tax climate more competitive.
The Indiana Tax Competitiveness and Simplification Conference will feature more than two hundred national and local tax experts in an effort to develop recommendations for the Pence administration and General Assembly.
Speakers include noted economist Arthur Laffer, anti-tax activist Grover Norquist, and Mark Everson, former IRS Commissioner under President George W. Bush. The list has led some to criticize the conference for leaning too far to the conservative end of the political spectrum.
House Minority Leader Scott Pelath says he’s more worried that the general public is being left out of the discussion.
“Middle class incomes, flagging wages, shrinking per capita income – these are the types of economic problems we need to be addressing and not just ways to try to get more power and more money into the hands of the right people," Pelath said. "And it’s my fear that this is what this so-called conference is going to be all about.”
But Governor Pence says he welcomes input from all corners.
“I want to see low taxes; I want to see less regulation," Pence said. "I mean, I’m a conservative. But we’ve brought together a range of thought leaders in this area, with really the focus on the competitiveness.”
The general public cannot attend the conference, though all sessions will be video-recorded and posted online. The state is also welcoming public comment on the Department of Revenue website.