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, “Own Your American Dream” which was released in October, focuses on three key concepts: financial security, matching Hoosier workers with high paying jobs, and making education investments.
Financial Security for Future Generations
“I am proud that we were able to accomplish the biggest goal that we set out to achieve: passing a fiscally conservative, balanced budget that provided tax relief for Hoosiers,” said State Representative Dave Wolkins (R-Warsaw). “The budget gives a blend of tax relief including the immediate elimination of the death tax, reduction of the financial institutions tax, continued corporate income tax reduction and a phased in income tax cut of 5 percent.”
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.
“In addition, we also introduced a new conservative concept in state budgeting: paying cash for projects and paying off the state’s debt burden,” said Speaker Bosma. “After all of those goals have been met, and with a proven track record of fiscal integrity, we are in the position to give Hoosiers the largest tax cut in the history of Indiana. This blend of tax relief will have a very positive impact on Hoosiers across the state and provides a tax cut for virtually every Hoosier.”
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
“Indiana has led the way in cutting taxes and implementing innovative fiscal policies, resulting in more jobs being created than most other states,” said Rep. Wolkins. “By addressing key teacher shortages in math and science, we are able to enhance job opportunities for generations to come.”
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.”