Jim Banks Address to CPAC
CPAC: Ladies and gentleman, please welcome The Honorable Jim Banks, Indiana State Senator and 10 Under 40 honoree
Good afternoon, my name is Jim Banks - as a Hoosier, a husband, a father of three girls, a United States Navy Reserve officer, a resident of Columbia City, which I might add has fewer residents then there are CPAC attendees, and the only member of the Indiana State Senate to recieve a 100% rating from the ACU in the 2013 session - I'm proud to have been selected as one of CPAC's 10 Conservatives Under 40.
While it's exciting to be recognized for individual accomplishment, I view this more of a stamp of approval for the great work being done by conservatives in my home state of Indiana, As we gather here less than 10 miles from the U.S. Capitol building, it's easy to be disheartened by the fact that conservative ideas and policies are being ignored in Harry Reid's Senate. Hundreds of bills to cut spending, lower taxes and create jobs just sit there collecting dust on Harry Reid's desk.
But the story is much different in what I like to call "the real world" - it's in the states, it's states like my home state of Indiana. Together we are proving to Washington, D.C. liberals that conservative ideas are not just ideological choices but a common sense solution to make life better for our fellow Americans. And when it comes to common sense reform, Indiana is leading the way.
We have focused our efforts on freedom, freedom from unnecessary taxation, freedom to choose the best education available, and the freedom to decide whether or not to join a union. And our success on these many fronts has provided a blueprint for other states to chart their own roadmap to prosperity. In 2013 we provided Hoosier families the freedom from being taxed during life AND after death by eliminating the inheritance tax - the "death tax" - once and for all when Governor Mike Pence signed our bill into law. No longer will Hoosier families, farmers and small business owners have to decide between selling their family farm or closing their business just to pay the government's waiting tax bill. The result? An estimated $165 million will remain in Indiana's economy rather than being used to pay for more government.
Also, last year we gave Hoosiers more freedom to decide how to spend their own hard-earned dollars by passing the largest tax cut in Indiana history. And next week we're set to expand that freedom once more by making our corporate tax rate the second lowest in the entire country. Imagine that happening in President Obama's Washington?
In terms of education reform, Hoosier families now have the freedom to choose the school of their choice through the largest voucher program in the country. We also expanded the number of charter schools and passed a set of reforms to better evaluate teachers to ensure that every Hoosier child has the best teachers in the nation. The result? Nearly 20,000 Hoosier students are using "choice" scholarships to attend the school that best meets their educational needs. In addition, Indiana test scores are up and Indiana is seeing our best graduation rates ever.
On worker freedom, after Democrats packed up their bags and fled to Illinois for five weeks - we perservered. During the 2012 session, just days before Indianapolis hosted our first-ever Super Bowl, we passed a Right to Work law, became the 23rd state in the nation to enact this crucial worker protection. Once again, the result - thousands of new jobs and $2.5 billion of additional investment is projected to come to Indiana because we gave Hoosiers the freedom to decide whether joining a union was best for them.
We didn't debate, pass and enact these common-sense reforms to score political points. We did all of this for far more important reasons. We did it for the Hoosiers wanting to make ends meet. We did it for the business wanted to expand and create jobs. We did it for my three daughers Lilly, Betsy and Annie - to make sure that every Hoosier has the best future possible. I want my girls to see me in uniform serving my country and at the Statehouse serving my great state. I want them to know that their dad did what he could to ensure more freedom for every Hoosier and every American. I want them to know that the answers won't be found here in Washington, D.C. - they'll be found at home in states like Indiana, the states that you live in out in the "real world." We are both the laboratories for ideas and the shining examples that conservative policies actually work.
Thank you again for this great honor and the opportunity to be with you this afternoon.
I was born in Columbia City, Indiana - a small town in a very conservative part of our state. Those are the values I grew up with. My dad was a factory worker and my mother is a cook in a local nursing home. I learned quicly about hard work. We didn't grow up with much, we didn't have much as kids. That's why they were so proud of me and why it meant so much for me to be the first in my family to get a college degree. I'm just a regular person who chooses to serve. In this case serving in my state's senate where we make decisions impacting 6.5 million Hoosiers but I come from a real background, I have a real job I go back to. I have three daughtes and a wife and I have to make ends meet like every other Hoosier does. My religion as an evangelical Christian is important to me. I want my daughters to tell others that their daddy served his country well, served their state well. Those are the memories I want them to have because I want them to be able to recognize the importance of public service.