Prior to the start of session, House Speaker Brian C. Bosma (R-Indianapolis), joined by members of the House Republican Caucus, presented Indiana: Working on Progress, where they outlined five key concepts as their agenda for the 2014 legislative session.
Cutting Taxes (SEA 1)
Indiana has one of the top, pro-business tax climates, but taxing capital investment puts Indiana at a competitive disadvantage with other states. Compared to other Midwestern states, Indiana has the highest effective business personal property tax rate. House Republicans championed options geared towards making Indiana and its local communities as competitive as possible in attracting new jobs and new business investment to the state. SEA 1 allows counties the opportunity to decide whether to exempt new investments on business equipment from the personal property tax, to grant a small business exemption and to give extended abatement to selected projects. The legislation also draws the state’s corporate income and financial institutions tax rate to 4.9 percent. When phased in, Indiana will have the second lowest corporate income tax rate in the nation.
“Indiana must continue to be innovative and look for every opportunity to stay ahead of the competition. Lower taxes are a proven incentive to attract business investment. By providing counties additional options to attract new jobs, our state’s economy will be stronger,” said Bosma.
Connecting Crossroads to Communities (HEA 1002)
Having a superior, statewide transportation system is crucial to Indiana’s economy and future growth. In 2013, over $500B in goods traveled on Indiana roadways. Increasing our investment in roads directly provides job opportunities. HEA 1002 provides for an additional $400M in state funds to be allocated to major highway lane projects.
“Key industries like tourism, retail sales, agriculture and manufacturing are dependent upon our state’s transportation infrastructure network,” said State Representative Matt Lehman (R-Berne). “The transfer of $400 million to improve and expand our state’s highway infrastructure will make Indiana eligible to receive federal funds in excess of $1.6 billion. In addition, this legislation will bring 40,000 new jobs to the Hoosier state.”
Equipping our Workforce (HEA 1003)
More than 930,0o0 Hoosiers – one-third of Indiana’s workforce – lack the most basic skills needed for today’s economy. House Republicans addressed the skills gap by providing additional incentives to employers who partner with education institutions to provide internships in high wage, high demand jobs.
“A highly educated workforce is a key factor to our state’s future success,” said Rep. Lehman. “Indiana continues to outpace the national average for job growth, and with the passage of HEA 1003, we will stay on this path of success.”
Preparing Kids for their Careers (HEA 1004)
Children who aren’t ready for kindergarten are half as likely to read proficiently by third grade, and children who aren’t reading proficiently by third grade are four times more likely to drop out of high school. In 2013, House Republicans initiated a small step towards addressing this issue through an investment in high quality preschool programs. This year, House Republicans achieved their goal of a preschool pilot program that will fund low-income students who attend a high quality program. The program is limited to families at 127 percent of the federal poverty level and below.
“There is no doubt that a high quality education provides the foundation of a child’s education. A solid educational foundation provides a child with limitless career opportunities in the future,” said Speaker Bosma.
Stopping Burdensome Regulations (HEA 1005)
Speaker Bosma established the Government Reduction Committee in 2010 to better protect Hoosier taxpayers. As a result of this committee’s work to have a leaner, more efficient state government, 40 boards and commissions along with over 400 appointments have been eliminated. House Republicans continued this initiative through legislation to eliminate duplicative code, red tape and layers of bureaucracy.
“Regulations increase the cost and complexity of both government and business,” said Rep. Lehman. “HEA 1005 helps reduce government bureaucracy by cutting red tape and eliminating burdensome regulations.”
Rep. Lehman represents all of Adams County and portions of Allen and Wells counties. He serves as the Deputy Speaker Pro Tempore and Chairman of the Insurance Committee. He also serves on the Courts and Criminal Code and Public Policy committees.