[r24] A smorgasbord of legislation (2/6/2012)

Monday, February 6, 2012 7:00 pm

Start Date:  2/6/2012    
End Date:  2/6/2012    

What a busy week it has been in the Indiana House of Representatives. We passed 72 pieces of legislation onto the Senate for further discussion. In addition, we had our first House Bill (HB) of the session signed into law by the governor.

Among the legislation passed to the Senate were bills aimed at boosting Indiana’s job climate. HB 1072 would extend the Hoosier Business Investment Tax Credit until the end of 2015. This would encourage capital investment in Indiana by awarding new tax credits to growing Hoosier businesses for an additional two years.

Similarly, HB 1111 would enhance the Historic Preservation Tax Credit (HPTC) to make it more viable for rural communities. In an effort to reinvigorate downtown areas, this legislation would increase the funding for the HPTC and require that at least 25 percent of the funds be used on projects that do not exceed $50o,000. This would allow for additional smaller, non-urban projects to benefit from the HPTC.

Another job-related tax issue is the death tax, which imposes a tax when people will their businesses and earnings onto others after death. Indiana is one of only a few states with it still intact. HB 1199 would phase-out the tax over a 10 year span to alleviate some problems some Hoosiers have been experiencing.

In addition to jobs bills, we heard legislation aimed at government reduction in an effort to increase efficiency. Specifically, HB 1002 would eliminate unnecessary or outdated boards, commissions and committees. This issue was discussed during the interim by the Committee on Government Reduction who determined that eliminating 22 boards and commissions would greatly reduce administrative workload.

Finally, in light of last year’s tragedy of the Indiana State Fair stage collapse, legislation was passed out of the House to further compensate victims and their families. HB 1376 would raise the liability limit from $5 million to $10 million, which would provide additional support to those injured in the collapse. Furthermore, it would compensate those who lost family members in the accident to the full extent of the law.

HB 1376 also provides funding for an expansion of full-day kindergarten throughout the state, while also improving the Automatic Tax Refund adopted last year.

While this is only a brief overview of the bills that we passed through the House last week, they are important because they all benefit the State of Indiana and our Hoosiers living here. As legislators, we strive to ensure that Indiana runs efficiently and effectively. We need to be relevant and competitive in this ever-changing economy in order to attract and retain businesses, inhabitants and jobs. That being said, I am confident in the direction that Indiana is heading, but there is always room for improvement.

Next week, we will begin hearing Senate bills in committees and on the House Floor. I look forward to briefing you on this legislation’s progress in the coming weeks.