HEA 1004: Pro-business, pro-transparency
On Thursday of last week, Governor Daniels signed one of four key economic development bills into law. One of those bills, House Enrolled Act 1004, was a bill which I co-authored.
This bill represents a significant step toward making our government's spending more transparent and spurring economic growth.
Indiana is already a leader in the nation in providing effective government transparency to its citizens and was recently recognized for those efforts. The US Public Interest Research Groups rated Indiana's transparency portal the third best in the country with a grade of "A-."
The transparency website was launched in the fall of 2010 by State Auditor Tim Berry and was recognized for offering a user-friendly system of information on payments to specific vendors and expenses incurred over a particular period of time, in specific geographic areas, by specific government agencies or of certain dollar amounts.
We are on the right track as a state, but House Bill 1004 pushes us to become even more transparent by providing the framework for Indiana to move toward being the most transparent state, from state government all the way down to the local level.
The bill requires detailed information be posted about budgets and expenditures from state agencies, local governments, educational institutions, as well as information on property owned by the state.
Hoosiers have a right to know how their tax dollars are being spent. Opening the books will drive more efficient spending and increase accountability.
In addition to providing transparency on how funds are spent the bill works to drive an increase in revenues collected.
Finding ways to foster economic development was one of the top goals this session for House Republicans. One way we accomplished that goal is by lowering the corporate tax rate. Currently, Indiana's corporate tax rate is 8.5%, making us the tenth highest in the nation.
Often, the "sticker shock" of 8.5% immediately shuts down discussions with employers or simply deters businesses from taking a second look.
By lowering the Corporate Income Tax to 6.5% Indiana will become even more desirable to businesses looking to relocate or expand. As many states are raising taxes and dealing with out of control spending, Indiana continues to maintain fiscal integrity and companies are beginning to see the appeal of Indiana. A lower corporate tax rate will be yet another selling point when vying for businesses.
In addition to lowering the corporate tax rate, the bill encourages investment in new companies by increasing access to start-up capital. The bill enhances the Venture Investment Tax Credit by increasing the maximum for a business from $500K to $1M annually.
I was immensely pleased to see the Governor sign onto this bill and to know that Indiana will be a leader in the nation by being one of the most pro-transparency and pro-business states.