Three bills that will help directly fulfill our goals in the Strengthen Indiana plan were passed through the House on their third and final reading this week in a bi-partisan effort. House Bills 1005, 1006 and 1008 will, respectively, help revitalize hard hit communities, promote job creation and improve access to capital.
HB 1005 will provide a renewed focus on re-incentivizing the use of existing facilities to help revitalize hard hit communities. The bill will lower the interior square footage threshold from at least 250,000 sq. ft. to 25,000 sq. ft. regardless of a county's population, to allow for the rehabilitation tax credit if allowed by the Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC). In addition, it will lower the vacancy threshold from 75 percent vacant for two years to 50 percent vacant for one year, and will lower the years of service the facility must have been in service from 20 years to 15 years. By lowering the thresholds on many of the requirements to use existing facilities businesses will be encouraged to make use of these 'dinosaur buildings'. HB 1005 passed the House in a unanimous vote.
The second bill of note, HB 1006, will require the Secretary of State's office to set up a one-stop-shop website for entrepreneurs and small businesses to register. There are currently multiple forms and state agencies that businesses must register with. There is no doubt that it can be confusing to start a business; HB 1006 will make it a simpler and easier process. The bill will also require the Indiana Department of Education, in conjunction with the Commission for Higher Education (CHE) and the Indiana Economic Development Corporation, to develop curriculum guides for high school entrepreneurship classes based on successful entrepreneurship practices. As well as require the CHE to examine entrepreneurship programs in state universities.
Small business start-ups account for 74% of all new jobs and we want to encourage start-up companies by making the process simpler and easier for business owners while also increasing entrepreneurial know-how. HB1006 passed the House unanimously and will go to the Senate for further consideration.
Finally, the last bill that passed the House this week as part of the Strengthen Indiana Plan was HB 1008. It will allow the Venture Capital Investment tax credit program to improve access to capital for fast growing Indiana companies by providing individual and corporate investors an additional incentive to invest in early stage firms. To accomplish this, the bill will increase the amount of tax credits available for investment in a qualified Indiana business from $500,000 to $1,000,000. HB 1008 will also suspend, for two years, the $200 application fee a business must pay to become a qualified Indiana business. The bill passed the House unanimously, as well.
The House Ways and Means Committee released a proposed budget for fiscal years 2012-2013 at the end of the week. The budget is positive for job creation in Indiana. We did not increase taxes on Hoosiers, which will provide a more predictable environment for business owners to grow and expand. I will be sure to update you more next week on the details of the budget.
I have appreciated your feedback on the many issues we are discussing at the Statehouse, and I encourage you to continue sending your thoughts and comments.
Rep. Mark Messmer (R-Jasper)