STATEHOUSE — Speaker of the Indiana House of Representatives, Brian C. Bosma (R-Indianapolis), announced the end of session, or Sine Die on Friday evening, 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.
“We determined that two ways we could have the highest ability to improve life for the next generation: high paying job opportunities and an education that prepares young people for the realities of today’s workforce,” said Speaker Bosma. “I am proud to say that the work of the General Assembly has addressed these critical issues, and much more.”
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
“It has been an honor to serve on the House Ways and Means Committee during my freshman year in the General Assembly,” said State Representative Sharon Negele (R-Attica). “Our budget prioritizes paying off long term debt and provides Hoosiers the largest tax cut in state history. By living within our means, we are passing on to the next generation a strong foundation for financial security.”
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.
“The budget includes funding for key priorities like roads and education, all the while continuing to not spend more than we take in,” said Rep. Negele. “We also focus on creating healthy reserves which will protect Hoosier families against future tax increases. I am proud of the work we have done to keep Indiana on a path of continued economic growth and fiscal integrity.”
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.
Designed to improve coordination, communication and vision for Indiana’s workforce training and career preparation systems, the Indiana Career Council (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 science, technology, engineering and mathematics (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. There is no longer a requirement for students in failing school districts.
“We have worked together to address these issues instead of passing the problems on to future generations to handle,” said Speaker Bosma. “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.”