House Republican Leader Brian C. Bosma (R-Indianapolis) and 47 other members of the caucus were sworn in during Tuesday's Organization Day ceremonies. House Republicans had earlier selected Rep. Bosma as caucus leader and spokesman.
"An honestly balanced budget - one with no gimmicks and no new taxes - is our primary objective this session," Rep. Bosma said. "The legislature has a sacred fiscal responsibility to Hoosiers, and House Republicans have every intention of honoring that. We have a history of being steadfast advocates for financially sound government, and that will continue in these terribly trying times.
"House Republicans also urge Speaker Bauer to bring Senate Joint Resolution 1 to the House floor for a vote. Members of the House should be able to vote on whether Hoosiers deserve the permanency of constitutionally protected property tax caps on their homes, farms and businesses."
If the General Assembly passes SJR 1 again this session, it would be on the general election ballot in Indiana in 2010.
Among other priorities for the 2009 session, which convenes Jan. 7, are taxpayer protection, job creation and educational opportunities.
"State government should function under the same rules it sets for local governments and the same way Hoosier families live: Live within your means," Rep. Bosma said. "And if the state has healthy amount of cash in reserve for emergencies, the extra should be returned to taxpayers.
"When House Republicans were in the majority in 2005 and 2006, we created incentives for employers who bring jobs to Indiana. Improving those incentives will further encourage the creation of high-paying jobs throughout the state. Two examples: Boosting our certified technology parks and expanding our shovel-ready programs.
"The basis for so much of our future promise is the education of our children," Rep. Bosma said. "House Republicans will work to require that 65 percent of every education dollar makes its way to the classroom, an improvement over the current 61 percent. Because outstanding teachers are vital to all of this, House Republicans advocate giving Hoosier public school teachers the opportunity to voluntarily take tests in their teaching areas and receive bonus pay for passing.
"We will encourage, we will challenge and we will persist in our efforts to focus the legislative debate on progress rather than partisanship," Rep. Bosma said of the upcoming session. "We pledge to work in good faith with our colleagues across the aisle. The time for politics is over, and the time for partnership has begun."