A look back at session
At the end of the 2014 legislative session, I took a look back at all the General Assembly was able to accomplish for Indiana. We headed in to session with a plan – an agenda listing items of the highest importance for our state – and the determination to make things happen. By the end, we were able to reach all of our goals and more.
A few of our key agenda items were cutting taxes, providing tools for our workforce, connecting crossroads to communities and removing burdensome regulations. These were the issues we believe will have the most positive impact on Hoosiers and will continue to help our state grow and thrive.
To lower taxes, we passed legislation giving local governments the option to exempt the business personal property tax (BPPT) for small businesses that file for less than $20,000 annually starting July 1, 2015. Giving counties the option to exempt this tax provides additional tools to attract out-of-state employers and encourage small business growth.
The Commission on Business Personal Property and Business Taxation has been established to study business taxation in Indiana and the impact that economic development tools such as Tax Increment Financing Districts, abatements and exemptions of the BPPT have on local government finances. We also evaluated other tax rates and will continue phasing down the state’s corporate tax and financial institutions tax. Both of these rates will be lowered to 4.9 percent by 2022, making our corporate tax the second lowest in the country when fully phased in.
Another way we found to improve business growth and development in our state was through the enhancement of our qualified, ready-and-willing workforce. To encourage workforce development, we provided incentives and tax credits to employers who partner with educational institutions to offer students valuable internships and apprenticeships in high wage, high demand jobs that require industry certifications. This gives students the opportunity to get hands-on, real-world experience and set themselves up to move into full-time employment upon graduation, while at the same time offering employers a wealth of talent from which to recruit.
We also sought to expand job opportunities and keep commerce flowing smoothly through our state by allocating up to $400 million dollars in additional funds for road and infrastructure improvements. This makes Indiana eligible for more than $1.6 billion in matching federal funds, allowing us to continue work on much-needed road and infrastructure projects.
The final main focus of our agenda was to cut through layers of bureaucratic red tape. Through the Government Reduction Committee established in 2010, we eliminated 40 boards and commissions and more than 400 government appointments. This year, we continued building upon that success and did an in-depth review of the Indiana Code, eliminating more than 2,000 lines of redundant code and layers of bureaucracy.
We accomplished a great deal for Indiana this session, and I am proud of the entire General Assembly. We worked together to craft great legislation that will benefit our families, our economy and our communities for years to come.
Rep. Ober represents all of Noble County and portions of Allen, Elkhart, LaGrange and Whitley counties.