[r82] Chairman Espich proposes additional funding and relief for Hoosiers (1/25/2012)

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Start Date: 1/25/2012
End Date: 1/25/2012

STATEHOUSE—Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee Jeff Espich (R-Uniondale) proposed an amendment to House Bill 1376, which he authored, during committee today. The amendment provides additional funding to state fair stage collapse victims and full day kindergarten, while also improving the Automatic Taxpayer Refund adopted last year.

“We have been working for months to find additional funding for these deserving needs, so I am pleased with the product we were able to present today,” said Chairman Espich.

The amendment would double the amount of compensation available for state fair stage collapse victims by raising the aggregate liability limit from $5 million to $10 million.

“No amount of money fixes this horrific situation that occurred last summer, but we need to do what is fair and reasonable for those involved and their families.”

Chairman Espich’s amendment would also double the per student grant for full day kindergarten by providing an additional $80 million in funding (increase from $1,227 per student to $2,400 per student).

The amendment would prioritize refunds to taxpayers and distribute these refunds fairly. Current projections indicate that four million Hoosiers could receive a refund of at least $50 each when they file their 2012 tax returns next spring.

Finally, the amendment would maintain the state’s commitment to send a portion of any “excess reserves” to the Pension Stabilization Fund to help pay teacher pension obligations.

Committee members discussed the amendment during today’s meeting, then voted to pass the amendment. House Bill 1376 now heads to the House floor for further debate.