The 2019 legislative session recently began and lawmakers are quickly getting to work addressing issues impacting our state. This session, Indiana House Republican priorities include passing a biennial budget that supports the state’s fiscal needs, protecting our youth, increasing teacher pay, strengthening workforce initiatives and supporting Hoosier veterans.
Indiana’s next two-year budget must be honestly balanced and fund important government services like K-12 education. Indiana is 1 of 14 states in the nation to earn Standard and Poor’s highest credit rating of AAA. This credit rating results in lower interest costs and taxpayer savings. To safeguard the state against an economic downturn, the budget must also maintain our healthy reserves.
The Indiana Department of Child Services provides care to our state’s most vulnerable, and the agency is in need of additional funding and support. Drug addiction is resulting in more children being removed from dangerous situations, and to ensure they and others in the child welfare system have better results, House Republicans are working to reform and appropriately fund DCS. Under an important House proposal, caseloads of family case managers would be more balanced. The bill would also provide collaborative care to foster youth in their early 20’s, which would increase participation in independent living programs. To reduce unnecessary court involvement, caseworkers would be given greater flexibility in both their reporting and in how they prioritize cases.
While Indiana is the national leader in school safety, we are working on a new law that would further improve the physical security at schools as well as providing mental health resources for students.
Our educators play a vital role in preparing our children for success. Proposed legislation would set a target for all Indiana public schools to dedicate 85 percent of their state funding to teacher pay. This is a good first step in a widely shared goal of getting more dollars into teachers’ pockets.
Our state’s economy continues to grow, adding jobs that need to be filled by hardworking Hoosiers. Lawmakers will continue aligning and promoting workforce initiatives. Proposed legislation would prioritize career and technical education and provide additional flexibility for schools to partner with employers in order to establish work-based learning opportunities. Additional funding would be invested in workforce programs to support this goal.
Veterans risked their lives for our freedom, and they deserve our support. House Republicans want to increase and expand the benefits available to Hoosier veterans by income tax exemptions for military pensions. The legislation would also increase the assessed value eligibility cap for the disabled veteran’s property tax exemption, which they currently receive. This would further support veterans by helping to decrease their financial burden.
As we tackle these and other important matters this session, please stay connected and involved. Your opinions are important, so please share your thoughts by emailing, H31@iga.in.gov or calling 317-234-9499. A good way for us to continue communicating is through my legislative email updates. To subscribe, visit www.in.gov/h31.
State Rep. Kevin Mahan (R-Hartford City) represents House District 31, which includes
Blackford County and portions of Delaware, Grant and Wells counties.
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