Rep. Randy Borror (R-Fort Wayne) took home a victory as the 2010 legislation session Sine Die, or adjourned, shortly after midnight Friday, March 12.
In the final hours of session, legislators passed House Bill 1367 by a 97-0 vote to allow schools the flexibility to transfer money between various funds to make up for reduced revenue. In addition, Senate Bill 23 passed by a 85-12 vote to delay the unemployment insurance premium tax increase passed last year.
"Members have gone back and forth on the issue and today was the first time we have been able to agree on anything; and the winners are Hoosiers students and teachers," Rep. Borror said. "Everyone is struggling to make ends meet during these trying times. With this legislation, however, we can help schools move around what then can in order to keep teachers and students in the classroom."
For the past two years, as the State of Indiana has continued to lose income and sales tax revenue due to the national recession, every state agency except schools has undergone severe cuts and employee salary freezes.
School corporations have had to make tough decisions to try to avoid teacher reduction. House Bill 1367 will ease some of the financial burdens schools are currently facing.
Senate Bill 23 was introduced to delay the unemployment premium tax increase passed in 2009 in House Enrolled Act 1379. Without Senate Bill 23, more than 80,000 small, medium and large businesses would have seen a $300 million tax increase in April 2010.
"Jobs have been the word of the session," said Rep. Borror. "By delaying the unemployment insurance tax, we are taking a huge financial burden off of Hoosier businesses. Money that would have been going toward unnecessary taxes will now be available to businesses to expand their operations and staff.
"Government may not be able to create jobs, but we can do what we can to create an environment that is business friendly."
Both bills now head to the governor's office to be signed into law.
Earlier this session, House Republicans passed two monumental pieces of legislation.
House Joint Resolution 1, the constitutional amendment to permanent cap homeowner's property taxes was passed within two weeks of session to allow Hoosier voters the opportunity to decide in the November 2010 election whether permanent property tax caps should be added to the state constitution.
In addition, Senate Bill 382 was passed to authorize, but not require, a public-private partnership to build the Illinana Expressway as a toll road. The plan calls to build the Illiana between Interstate 65 in Indiana with Interstate 57 in Illinois with about 10 miles being built in Indiana.
It is estimated that every $100 million in highway construction supports 1,200 to 1,900 construction jobs. In the end, the Illiana project would bring in $600 million and approximately 11,400 construction jobs.