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.
“Every session, we enact legislation that will help Indiana grow and be successful. The budget is the capstone of all bills we pass,” said State Representative Doug Gutwein (R-Francesville). “Expanding education opportunities, spurring more job growth, increasing funds to maintain our roads and highways and passing an honestly balanced budget are all noteworthy accomplishments for the Legislature to hang its hat on.”
The House Republicans’ “Own Your American Dream” plan focuses on three key concepts: financial security, matching Hoosier workers with high paying jobs, and making education investments.
Financial Security for Future Generations
“Our priorities are to pass a budget that maintains a strong fiscal reserve and which prioritizes education and roads funding. Our fiscal integrity provides an economic climate that spurs job creation. Hoosier taxpayers deserve nothing less, and our job creation environment will continue to benefit,” said Bosma.
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.
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.
“My focus this session was to strengthen education opportunities for future generations and continue to build a tax climate that is conducive to job growth,” said Rep, Gutwein. “This session was about jobs and preparing Hoosiers to enter the workforce. We addressed many areas of concern by expanding opportunities for students in Indiana’s education system, as well as enhancing collaboration and coordination of the state’s workforce development.”
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.
“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.”