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Indiana's economic momentum sparks tech boom: Gov. Pence

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence
Source: The office of Governor Mike Pence
Indiana Gov. Mike Pence

Indiana has experienced a season of reform over the course of the last decade.

Indiana's comeback began under the watch of my predecessor. Prior to Gov. Mitch Daniels ushering in an era of fiscal responsibility, Indiana's challenges were not dissimilar to that of many other states or even the federal government — budget deficits, bloated and ineffective government agencies that made the Hoosier State less than fertile ground for investment.

As Indiana's 50th governor, I said job creation would be my administration's highest priority. And we set out to create the kind of environment that encouraged the entrepreneurship and innovation that creates opportunity for the talented Hoosiers, who bring ingenuity and craftsmanship to work with them each and every day.

The success of these innovative initiatives is evidenced in Indiana's economic momentum. We've seen incredible growth across job sectors — in aerospace, agribusiness, logistics and life sciences. The Hoosier State also hosts the largest share of advanced manufacturing jobs in the country.

With a burgeoning tech industry, we are well on our way to making Indiana a "Silicon Prairie." And for good reason.

We've grown tech jobs at triple the national average. Indianapolis is now one of the best places in the nation for tech grads; No. 5 for women in tech and a top 10 city for creating tech jobs. This is evidenced by the recent decision of Salesforce, the world's fastest-growing top 10 software company, to commit to expanding its regional headquarters in Indiana, investing more than $40 million into our economy and creating 800 new, high-wage jobs.

"Indianapolis is now one of the best places in the nation for tech grads, No. 5 for women in tech and a top 10 city for creating tech jobs."

As we continue to take Indiana from good to great, we're off to a strong start.

Today Indiana proudly boasts honestly balanced budgets and a triple-A credit rating from all three rating agencies. Most importantly, graduation rates are up, personal income is rising, our labor force participation rates far outpace national averages, and we've set a new record for private-sector employment in Indiana.

Cutting billions, spending billions

Since January 2013, we've enacted $3.5 billion in tax relief through the year 2022. In year one of my administration, I was proud to have signed into law the largest income-tax cut in Indiana history. We cut the corporate tax rate and eliminated the death tax and the business personal property tax for the majority of small businesses. Last year we paid off our outstanding federal unemployment trust fund loan early, saving businesses $327 million in taxes that can now be reinvested into our growing economy.

In addition to this tax relief, we've also made historic investments in priorities like education, infrastructure and workforce development. I'm proud that my administration secured Indiana's first-ever state-supported pre-K program; we've committed an additional $2.5 billion in infrastructure funding; and the Hoosier workforce of tomorrow will be better prepared to meet the needs of employers due to our prioritization of career and technical education.

As we endeavor to transform Indiana's communities into destinations for investment and talent, I'm grateful to have partnered with leaders in the Indiana Statehouse to fully fund our vision to promote regional economies that lend to the inherent strengths found in different parts of our state. Known as the Regional Cities Initiative, we will leverage nearly $1 billion in state, local and private-sector investment to improve quality of life.

By holding the line on government spending, cutting taxes on working Hoosiers and job creators, maintaining strong reserves and making the right investments, we can keep the cost of doing business low while attracting and retaining talent and investment.

I'm proud that we've helped create such a positive environment in our state over these last few years. It is important that as we look toward the future when it comes to building off these initial successes, we keep faith with the playbook of commonsense principles and policies that have produced results in Indiana's comeback.

—By Indiana Gov. Mike Pence

Editor's note: This commentary was written before GOP nominee Donald Trump choose Gov. Mike Pence as his VP running mate and before the release of the Top States 2016 data. The governor did not have knowledge of the rankings or the comprehensive data.