Rep. Bacon delivers on promises
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. Ron Bacon (R-Chandler) 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 pleased with everything that we accomplished during my first session here at the Statehouse. After a very eventful session, we were able to accomplish our goals and strengthen Indiana," said Rep. Bacon.
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.
"We successfully passed a number of bills promoting a strong and attractive state economy that will bring businesses and jobs to our state and local communities," said Rep. Bacon. "We also passed a responsible budget that does not raise taxes and will balance the upcoming budget cycle. Through our efforts we have placed Indiana in a solid position that has been seen by some as a template for other states."
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.
Expanding Education Opportunities
In September House Republicans pledged to give families more choices for their children's education regardless of income or zip code. They have fulfilled their promise by expanding educational opportunities for Hoosier families, especially those of limited means.
Charter Schools were first authorized in Indiana in 2001. Now through the Charter School Bill, these public schools will be able to expand without obstacles and provide innovative options to public school students. House Republicans also moved legislation to reward high performing teachers with merit pay.
Legislation allowing school choice scholarships will provide families, who do not have the financial means, a scholarship to pay the cost of tuition and fees at a public or private school that best meets their student's needs.
In the school funding formula, House Republicans demonstrated their commitment to education by focusing every additional dollar on the classroom. The school funding formula will now have dollars following the child into the classroom, immediately - not waiting two or three years for dollars to follow the child.
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 has been challenging, perhaps more so than any session in memory. Change is never easy - this is no less true for legislative bodies. We have made landmark legislative decisions that will positively affect issues our state has faced so our children and their children will have a better future here in Indiana. I can proudly say that House Republicans have fulfilled their promises and enacted legislation that will significantly strengthen Indiana," said Speaker Bosma.
"I want to thank all of my General Assembly colleagues for their hard work both today and throughout the session," said Rep. Bacon. "We put in a lot of time to ensure that we complete the people's business on time and our efforts have certainly paid off."