[R74] Progress for a stronger Indiana (3/10/2012)

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Start Date: 3/10/2012
End Date: 3/10/2012
The 2012 Legislative Session has come to a close three days ahead of schedule and I want to report on some of the key legislation that I believe will make a real difference for constituents in our district.   

This year, the General Assembly took action for a fairer tax code by passing Senate Bill (SB) 293 to initiate a phase-out of the inheritance tax.  This double tax on assets people already own hurts many Hoosiers, but especially farmers and small business owners who may be forced to sell their property to pay the tax.  The majority of states have already eliminated the ‘death tax,’ and that reality worked against us keeping many of senior citizens as they contemplated retirement.   By phasing out the inheritance tax more Hoosiers will be encouraged to live out their golden years in Indiana and numerous small business owners will be able to pass along these businesses and farms to family members

To address nepotism and conflicts of interest in county and local government, we passed House Bill (HB) 1005.  Government officials will no longer be allowed to hire their relatives to work under their direct supervision.  In addition, if a government employee is elected to the executive or fiscal body that controls the municipal budget, the employee must resign from their government position if they wish to assume the elected office.  By reducing nepotism and limiting conflicts of interests, local government will be more open and responsive to citizens and their needs.

In support of worker freedom and job creation, Indiana became the nation’s 23rd Right to Work (RTW) state with the passage of HB 1001.  While Hoosier workers maintain their right to join a union of their own free will, they can no longer be forced into paying dues to a labor union they don’t support.  Furthermore, because Indiana is the first state to enact a RTW law in the industrial Midwest, we are in an excellent position to attract businesses and high wage jobs.   In the past 2 months, more than 30 companies have conveyed to the Indiana Economic Development Corporation that the new law is a factor in their consideration to locate in Indiana.  These companies alone have the potential to bring 4,000 new jobs and over $700 million in investments.  RTW is a powerful tool in making Indiana the best state for job creation in the country.

Going forward, many more children in Indiana will have access to full-day kindergarten.  Research has shown students enrolled in full-day kindergarten are better prepared for a successful academic career and more likely to earn a high school diploma.  Investing in education is to the advantage of our children, our economy, and our workforce.  Full-day kindergarten has been a long term goal for Indiana and we are proud to make it a reality this year.

It’s been an honor serving as your voice in the General Assembly.  I’m confident the legislation we’ve passed these last two years will have a positive impact on the future of our state.

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Ellspermann Edition, Progress for a stronger Indiana, 3-9-12.doc