STATEHOUSE - Speaker of the Indiana House of Representatives, Brian C. Bosma (R-Indianapolis), announced the end of session, or Sine Die on Saturday morning, closing out a year of priorities achieved. The House Republican agenda, which was released in October, centered on making Indiana a stronger state for future generations, by focusing on fiscal integrity, job growth, and enhanced education opportunities for every Hoosier.
“Affecting organizations, businesses, teachers, veterans, Hoosier families – everyone is in some way is completely impacted by the biennial budget,” said State Representative Jim Baird (R-Greencastle). “Consequently, considerable deliberation and discussion goes into crafting, debating and the budget in an effort to finalize the best product possible. I am pleased that we were able to achieve a balanced budget which will provide relief for countless Hoosiers in West Central Indiana and throughout the state.”
The House Republicans’ “Own Your American Dream” plan focuses on three key concepts: financial security, matching Hoosier workers with good paying jobs, and make investments in education.
Financial Security for Future Generations
Indiana is one of only nine states that has a AAA credit rating from all three credit agencies. Indiana holds a higher credit rating than the federal government, whose debt has now passed the $16 trillion mark for the first time in our nation’s history. That equates to more than $50,000 of debt for every man, woman and child in the U.S.
“When we first discussed the budget in Ways and Means, we sought to increase funding to education and transportation infrastructure while remaining fiscally responsible with taxpayer dollars –not the easiest task,” said Rep. Baird. “Coming to an agreement that accomplishes this while providing largest tax cut in state history is a major success for our state.”
Bridging the Skills Gap
According to the Indiana Vision 2025 report published by the Indiana Chamber of Commerce, more than 930,000 Hoosiers lack even the most basic skills to thrive in today’s economy.
The legislatively created Indiana Career Council (ICC) is designed to improve coordination, communication and vision for Indiana’s workforce training and career preparation systems. The ICC is a panel that will bring the principal stakeholders in the state’s workforce development efforts together to create a stronger plan to move Indiana forward. Members of the ICC will be charged with aligning the education skills and training provided by Indiana’s educational, job skills and career training systems with the existing and projected needs of the state’s job market. The legislation also puts into law a longitudinal data system to track the effectiveness of the state’s educational and workforce programs.
Leaders in Classrooms; Leaders in Life
Currently, there are nearly two and a half STEM jobs for every one unemployed person in Indiana. Despite the economic downturn, these jobs have remained in demand, and will only increase as technology marches on. HEA 1001 creates a STEM Teacher Recruitment Fund and new stipend programs for teachers that are in high demand.
In Indiana, 61 percent of children (ages 3-4) are not enrolled in a preschool program. Only six states have a higher percentage of children not attending a preschool. The budget creates a Pre-K Matching Program. School choice was also expanded for students with disabilities, special needs, and siblings. There is no longer a requirement for students in failing school districts.
“It is every parent’s hope that their children will be better off than their own generation. But for the first time in history the majority of Americans believe that the next generation will not enjoy a quality of life better than their parents,” said Speaker Bosma. “We have worked together to address these issues instead of passing the problems on to future generations to handle. Through our commitment to fiscal integrity, quality jobs, and providing strong education opportunities to our children, the American Dream can be a reality for future generations of Hoosiers.”