STATEHOUSE - The 2011 legislative session has been a session of historic challenges and historic accomplishments. Despite the road bumps presented this session House Republicans have delivered on the promises they made in 2010. State Rep. Mark Messmer (R-Jasper) along with other House Republican legislators presented the 'Strengthen Indiana Plan' in Sept. of 2010. Unlike many political pledges, everything that was promised in 2010 was successfully delivered through legislative action this year.
"I am very happy with the many successes we have had this session in our efforts to strengthen Indiana. Parts of this session were somewhat unexpected, including a five week halt in moving bills forward due to the Democrat walkout. In the end though we were able to get the results Hoosiers were looking for," said Rep. Messmer.
"In September we told the public what we intended to do if elected - we stated how budgets would be balanced, how taxes wouldn't be increased, how families would be empowered, and how schools would be improved.
"We committed to an agenda, I am proud that we made and were able to deliver on our promises. Many of the key initiatives that we addressed are already being recognized as landmarks not only for the State of Indiana, but in the United States," said Speaker Bosma.
Protecting Hoosier Taxpayers
House Republicans have repeatedly pledged to enact a responsible state budget which meets our critical needs with no tax increases. They cited in the past that with a fiscally sound budget comes predictability for both Hoosier taxpayers and Hoosier businesses. Since having made that announcement, Republicans were able to pass a fiscally responsible budget that does not raise taxes and retains adequate reserves to protect Hoosier taxpayers. Indiana now has an unemployment rate of 8.5 percent, which is below the national average. The state is continuing to attract jobs through a predictable tax environment.
In a rare announcement this session Speaker Bosma, Senator Long and Governor Daniels jointly announced that an additional $150 million will be directed to K-12 education. This announcement came after an updated revenue forecast showed that the state will receive more than what was projected under prior forecasts. The increased revenues in addition to prudent reserve balances prove that the disciplined financial efforts by Republicans in the General Assembly and the Governor are paying off for the State of Indiana.
"Our Caucus' core value continues to be fiscal integrity. Because of that primary goal we are able to forward our commitment to K-12 education and place an emphasis on early education.
"Above all else, we remain committed to live within the state's means," said Speaker Bosma.
Promoting Hoosier Job Creation
The Strengthen Indiana Plan focused on key elements that promote job creation and incentivizes employers to grow and relocate to Indiana. Start-up capital for budding businesses has now been made more accessible by enhancing the Venture Capital Investment tax credit.
House Republicans provided tax incentives to help revitalize hard hit communities that have empty factories and warehouses sitting idle. "Through improvements to the Industrial Recovery Tax Credit Hoosier employers will be able to defer upfront capital costs for rehabilitating empty factories. These costs often prevent new businesses from starting up and with the improvements to this credit businesses can repurpose the factories and hire Hoosiers," said Speaker Bosma.
In addition to economic incentives, House Republicans also made it easier for business to start up through legislation that will create a 'one-stop-shop', cutting the unnecessary red tape which will make creating a business more accessible to future employers. While other states have increased taxes on employers House Republicans joined the Governor and Senate Republicans driving down the corporate income tax.
"There have been multiple bills that will create jobs in Indiana by attracting new businesses to our state in addition to promoting small businesses and entrepreneurship. One bill that I authored will provide communities the tools they need to create tax incentives, for employers to increase hiring, and to help redevelop struggling downtown areas. I know many communities are still struggling in this recession and my bill will help them continue to move forward and bring new opportunities for Hoosiers," said Rep. Messmer.
Standing Up to Washington D.C.
Federal legislation passed in Washington, DC has begun to have an increasing negative effect on states across the country. "The majority of Hoosiers want no part of a nameless bureaucrat controlling their healthcare, higher energy costs and debt that will burden future generations. House Republicans passed legislation stating that Hoosiers will not have to comply with the individual mandate to purchase insurance under the Federal Healthcare law. In addition, we took a measured, compassionate approach on the issue of illegal immigration since Congress has failed to act in this area," said Speaker Bosma.
"This session I also co-authored legislation that will help protect the sanctity of life. This was a bill I was very pleased to support and received a large amount of positive feedback for.
"This session has presented some unique challenges, but I believe our hard work and time will allow Indiana to continue to lead the nation out of the recession and make the state a more prosperous state for all Hoosiers," said Rep. Messmer.