Article V of Indiana's Constitution requires our governor to provide the General Assembly with "information touching the condition of the State, and recommend such measures as he shall judge to be expedient."

This Tuesday, Gov. Mike Pence gave his first "State of the State" address. Pence recognized that Indiana is in a strong position and charged lawmakers to build on recent successes to make Indiana first in job creation, education and quality of life in the United States - all very worthy goals.

I certainly agree with the governor that our state has made impressive gains in recent years. In fact, Indiana is asserting itself as a national leader in economic growth and job creation. Our state added the 9th most private-sector jobs in 2012, and we were first in the nation in 2012 for manufacturing job growth.

These positive numbers are in-part a result of tax and economic development policies that make it easier and less costly for employers to set up shop or expand in our state. When more hard-earned money remains in the hands of Hoosiers instead of the government, entrepreneurs are able to start new businesses, hire more people and make new ideas profitable. This concept has been a guiding force for Republicans at the Statehouse, including myself, for several years now. More importantly, it's a concept that's working.

Previous initiatives to eliminate the inheritance tax, cap property taxes, reduce the corporate income tax rate and pass a Right to Work law in Indiana have attracted new investments and brought new jobs to all parts of this state. 

Of course, there are still too many Hoosiers unemployed or underemployed. Jobs must continue to be our top priority at the Statehouse. My colleagues and I in the Senate will work this session to pass low-tax, pro-growth policies and hold the line on wasteful government spending, even as other states and our nation head in the opposite direction.

Hoosiers can also be assured state lawmakers will pass a new two-year budget that keeps our books balanced while still funding important services that our economy and livelihood rely on, such as our schools and road infrastructure.

Gov. Pence certainly set the tone for a productive and meaningful legislative session. I'm confident state lawmakers will deliver on his charge and continue to move Indiana forward. As always, please send your thoughts and opinions on the state of our local communities to

Phil Boots is a State Senator who represents Montgomery County. He is also an owner of The Paper of Montgomery County.