Accountability is our Responsibility
The Indiana House Republicans announced our 2015 Legislative Agenda last week, and I am very proud of the issues that we vowed to make a priority next session. Tackling items like balancing Indiana’s budget without raising taxes, fixing the school funding formula, comprehensive ethics reform and focusing on Indiana’s public safety will benefit Hoosiers all across our state.
Each biennium, the Indiana General Assembly is responsible for passing the state’s budget, which is the single, largest policy document that Indiana adopts for a two year period. With 2015 a budget year, I once again will work to pass an honestly balanced budget without raising taxes. It is also important to maintain healthy reserves and a strong structural surplus so that our state can survive economically in case another recession occurs. While living within our means, we must continue to make strategic investments like in roads, public safety and most importantly, education.
Education funding is currently the largest portion of the state budget, but we still need to do more to improve education in our state like fixing the school funding formula. Some schools have been receiving as low as $5,500 per student while other schools receive as much as $9,500. Rural and suburban schools like some of the school districts in southwest Indiana are the ones getting hit with the funding disparity. I am proud that we will review and work to equalize this funding so it is fair for all Hoosier students, teachers and districts.
Supporting Hoosier teachers is part of our plan to strengthen Indiana’s education system. Unfortunately, many teachers are purchasing school supplies with dollars out of pocket, which is something we need to address. I am proud that we are continuing to support teachers by working to provide those that purchase supplies for their classrooms with a tax credit.
As a member of the Public Safety Committee for the last two years, the issue of Hoosier safety is very important to me, so I am eager to take a strong look at some of the public safety concerns that impact our communities next session. Indiana has the third highest rate of police officers killed in the line of duty, and the fifth highest infant mortality rate in the nation. We will continue to have discussions with health care providers regarding incentives for the private and civic sectors to address this issue.
During the 2014 legislative session, I was proud to vote for House Enrolled Act 1006, which was a comprehensive criminal code reform; the largest criminal code reform in the last thirty years. This coming session, we will take a look at House Enrolled Act 1006 to ensure that penalties for the worst offenders are enhanced to the fullest so that we can better protect Hoosier families.
I am proud of our legislative priorities for the upcoming session, which will benefit Hoosiers all across the state, and I am looking forward to the positive impact this will have in our community. Please do not hesitate to contact my office if you have any questions regarding our agenda. My number is 1-800-382-9841 or you can email me at email@example.com.