STATEHOUSE-Rep. Matt Bell (R-Avilla) worked up to the final minute today to pull out a victory for Hoosiers. Before session ended, also known as Sine Die, House members voted in favor of a tax delay for employers on their unemployment insurance premiums and school funding flexibility. The bills passed by a vote of 85 to 12 and 98 to 0, respectively. The legislation now heads to the governor's desk for his signature.
"At times, I didn't know if we would ever meet in the middle on this legislation, but today we passed a positive bill for Hoosiers," Rep. Bell said. "We desperately need to get Hoosiers back to work and this was the most important thing we could do to help business grow and retain jobs. This is a huge victory for out of work Hoosiers hoping for businesses to begin hiring again. I hope we'll see a positive change in unemployment."
During the 2009 legislative session, House Democrats passed legislation to increase unemployment premiums on employers ranging from $9-748 per employee. This legislation passed without one House Republican vote.
The delay on unemployment insurance tax premiums will save businesses $640 million over the next two years.
"I am thankful that the legislation was passed," Rep. Bell said. "Hoosiers are the biggest winner today."
A victory was also secured for our schools as legislators passed a measure to give schools the funding flexibility they need to shore up negative funds.
For over a year state revenues have fallen below the forecasts thus prompting a $300 million reduction in school funding. In an effort to keep teachers in the classroom, we offered legislation to give schools the ability to reallocate money to fill holes in depleted funds, as long as the school corporation agrees not to lay off any employee.
"Education matters in Indiana, and we made that known tonight," Rep. Bell said. "Both sides of the aisle coming together to make sure Hoosier educations are not harmed by recent budget cuts, demonstrates our commitment to education. We gave schools funding flexibility to move money amongst funds and we have done all that we can to keep teachers in the classroom. This is a great victory for our schools and most importantly our children."
Earlier this year, the House of Representatives also passed one bill allowing the Illiana Expressway to be built without legislative approval.
House Joint Resolution 1, one of the most important accomplishments of the session, was passed early on. It would graft property tax caps into the state constitution after being approved by voters on the November ballot.
The act of giving homeowners, farmers and business owners the chance to cap their own taxes was the most sweeping tax reform Indiana has seen in several decades. The vast majority of Hoosiers want the opportunity to vote on this critical issue.