STATEHOUSE – The 2012 legislative session has been a session of historic accomplishments. Despite the road bumps presented at the beginning, House Republicans continued to deliver on the promises they made to Hoosiers in 2010 and 2011.
House Speaker Brian C. Bosma (R-Indianapolis), joined by members of the House Republican Caucus, presented the ‘Strengthen Indiana Plan’ just before the start of the 2011 session.
“This session we were able to continue to deliver on the promises we made to Hoosiers in 2010,” said Speaker Bosma. “As the nation watched the Right to Work debate, we passed historic legislation that sent a message to America—Indiana is open for business.”
Promoting Hoosier Job Creation
In November of 2011, the Speaker announced that there was one additional critical tool to incentivize employers to relocate and expand here in Indiana—making Indiana the 23rd Right to Work state, and the first state to pass Right to Work in the Midwest.
“Despite the success that we have had in job creation, we needed to take this last step in order to kick job creation into its highest gear, which is why I announced in November that making Indiana the 23rd Right to Work state was my top priority for 2012,” said Speaker Bosma.
After more than 40 hours of testimony, debate and discussion over the past year, House Enrolled Act (HEA) 1001 Employee’s Right to Work was signed into law. HEA 1001 made Indiana the first state in the industrial Midwest to become a Right to Work state and the first in the nation that does not have a Right to Work state on its border.
“We are in the heart of the industrial Midwest and we have received contact from employers in Ohio, Kentucky, Illinois, Michigan, Canada and overseas, specifically due to the passage of this legislation,” said Speaker Bosma. “The passing of this bill will result in stronger employment opportunites for all Hoosiers.”
Protecting Hoosier Taxpayers
In 2012, Republicans repealed the Indiana Inheritance Tax effective January 1 of this year and phase out the death tax over the next nine years.
In addition, House Republicans kept their 2011 pledge to provide an Automatic Taxpayer Refund to Hoosier income taxpayers, returning nearly $200 million to taxpayers this coming April and providing nearly $150 million in additional pension support to state police, teachers, conservation officers and other public servants.
In 2012, House Republicans more than doubled the amount of money that the State Fair Victims were able to receive. In addition, they also passed a bill that would create regulation of outdoor stage equipment to better protect Hoosiers who attend festivals and fairs throughout the state.
“Last year a tragedy in our community occurred with the collapse of the stage at the State Fair. Our prayers and thoughts go out to those affected by this tragedy. No amount of money will make up for what occurred, but we felt that we could do better by the victims and their families,” said Speaker Bosma.
To further the House Republican pledge to protect Hoosier taxpayers, Speaker Bosma also initiated the Select Committee on Government Reduction in 2010 in order to have a leaner, more efficient state government. Their accomplishments were present in this year’s HB 1002 legislation, where 20 boards and commissions along with more than 200 bureaucratic appointments were eliminated.
“Smaller government is a better government,” said Speaker Bosma. “The State of Indiana had too many commissions and boards in statute that were determined by the committee to be duplicative, unnecessary, outdated or inefficient.”
Expanding Education Opportunities
In last year’s budget, House Republicans delivered an additional $150 million to K-12 education. This year House Republicans furthered that commitment by directing an additional $80 million to complete the funding for full-day kindergarten to make it available tuition-free to every Hoosier child.
"We must continue to invest in the future of Indiana. For the first time in Indiana’s history we have completed the funding of full-day kindergarten to better provide every child an education that will serve as a foundation,” said Speaker Bosma.
“I can confidently say that House Republicans have fulfilled their promises and enacted legislation that will significantly continue to strengthen Indiana. Indiana is open for business,” said Speaker Bosma.