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. I am proud to say that the work of the General Assembly has addressed these critical issues, and much more.
“Our state’s budget also reflects our state’s priorities. House Republicans have improved our state’s fiscal picture by adopting a budget that lives within its means. Over the past decade or more, House Republicans have continually presented lean budgets. Because of this, we have been able to give taxpayers the largest tax cut in the history of Indiana, while meeting our investment objectives and maintaining our reserves, truly making our state the envy of the nation,” said Speaker Bosma.
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
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.
“After a lot of discussion, debate and hard work in both Houses, I am happy with where Indiana’s budget ended up,” said Rep. Smaltz. “I believe it upholds our state’s track record of fiscal integrity, and it protects Hoosier taxpayers. I am especially pleased with the education funds restored and the increased road funding, but I know more remains to be done.”
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 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.
“I believe we really delivered on our commitment to Hoosiers to put jobs, education and a strong budget first,” said Rep. Smaltz. “I really appreciate the bipartisan and unanimous support of the Indiana Career Council and believe it will go a long way to assist in the success of our young people. I enjoyed working with the governor, speaker and president pro tempore.”
Leaders in Classrooms; Leaders in Life
Currently, there are nearly two and a half 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.