USA Today: Americans for Prosperity says it's focusing more attention on state governments
INDIANAPOLIS — Gov. Mike Pence will get a little help from his conservative friends to push his tax cut through the Republican-dominated Indiana General Assembly.
So far, the proposed 10 percent cut to individual income taxes has received a lukewarm reception from Pence’s fellow Republicans in the legislature. But the conservative Americans for Prosperity group announced Thursday it will launch an aggressive media campaign to back the governor — and browbeat reluctant GOP lawmakers.
The national group was founded by the billionaire Koch brothers of Kansas and is known for opposing President Barack Obama and some of his programs. But Thursday, group President Tim Phillips said the organization and its 32 local chapters would be focusing more attention on state governments.
“We see a debate going on at the state level that is really going to define the nation,” Phillips said during a news conference at the Indiana Statehouse.
“In Washington, it’s gridlock and really that’s not where the action is. The action about how we get our economy moving again, how we get job creation and prosperity and incomes up, that real debate is happening at state capitals like here in Indianapolis.”
Phillips said Indiana is at the forefront of the group’s effort because of its conservative governor and Republican-dominated state legislature.
“I think a lot of Indiana families, and I think the nation really, is watching to see what they are going to do with this power,” he said. “Are they going to kind of float around with the comfortable status quo, or is it going to be a genuinely bold attempt to get this economy moving again.”
Americans for Prosperity has been increasingly involved in state politics. In North Carolina, the group successfully fought proposed tax hikes. In Michigan, it rallied for the passage of a right-to-work law. In Wisconsin, it’s supporting the deregulation of mining.
The Indiana chapter, founded in October 2011, will launch a six-figure marketing campaign to back Pence, including TV, radio and online spots, largely in the Indianapolis market. Volunteers also will go door to door in targeted areas.
One ad, posted on YouTube, flashes a series of newspaper headlines that note the House Republicans’ failure to embrace Pence’s tax cut despite the state’s expected budget surplus of $518 million in 2014. The ad urges Hoosiers to sign a petition supporting the tax cut at www.fightforindiana.com.
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