Rep. Arnold: Putting local needs first

Posted by: Peter Hoffman  | Wednesday, February 17, 2016

As a state representative, it is my duty to have the best interests of our district at heart when crafting legislation and casting votes. Prioritizing the needs of Spencer, Dubois, Perry, Crawford and Orange counties is an important responsibility.

It’s no secret that funding for our infrastructure is one of our most pressing needs. That’s why House Republicans crafted House Bill (HB) 1001 to address both our state and local road funding. It’s a long-term, comprehensive plan based on data-driven metrics.

HB 1001 would create a grant system in which the state will match whatever road funding the cities and counties can manage, dollar-for-dollar. In addition, the bill would allow for qualifying municipalities to charge a wheel tax or surtax to raise funds if they deem it necessary. It also raises the maximum allowable charge that counties can levy for a wheel tax or surtax.

In order to qualify for matching funds, the bill would require local units to implement an asset management plan. It’s a systematic tool that empowers them to inventory their own roads and bridges and plan for the future. It also keeps the state informed as to local road conditions and allows locals’ needs to be compared on equal, data-driven terms.

Another piece of legislation, HB 1110, frees up money from the state’s local option income tax trust fund. This trust fund was originally created as a safety net for locals in case of a recession.

This bill would give back $440 million to local governments immediately and another $110 million over the next four years. The state will continue to maintain the trust fund but HB 1110 would mean a one-time distribution from the reserves held by the state. Local units would be free to use these funds as they see fit. The five counties that comprise House District 74 would collectively receive approximately $7 million under our proposal.

HB 1001 and 1110 are two bills that I’m proud to support. Both measures empower local cities and counties with greater flexibility and tools. These plans would address our funding needs in the district, as well as the state, in a responsible and sustainable way. 

As always, please contact me with questions or input at (317) 232-9793 or by email at h74@iga.in.gov. I am eager to help and always appreciate hearing from you in order to better represent our district at the Statehouse.

-30- 

Rep. Arnold (R-Leavenworth) represents portions of Spencer, Dubois, Perry, Crawford and Orange counties.