For immediate release:
Jan. 31, 2014
INDIANAPOLIS - We are nearing the end of the first half of the 2014 session of the Indiana General Assembly, and Indiana House Democrats have been trying their best to pass legislation that can help Hoosiers.
Here’s what we tried to do:
- Get rid of Indiana’s right to work law, which has failed to create new jobs in our state.
- Ask Congress to get off its duff and do something to restore unemployment benefits for more than 70,000 out-of-work Hoosiers.
- Help schoolchildren across Indiana by getting rid of excess state bureaucracy in setting education policy by eliminating the Center of Education and Career Innovation (CECI), a fancy-sounding agency created by the governor that has goals that no one has been able to define apart from paying a bunch of people big salaries.
- Provide more than $500 million in state funding to improve our deteriorating streets, roads and bridges.
- Increase the state’s earned income tax credit, an idea that Ronald Reagan once hailed as “the best anti-poverty, the best pro-family, and the best job creation measure.”
All good ideas that I feel will help millions of Hoosiers. But, once again, Indiana House Republicans just said NO to all of these ideas.
Instead, they passed their “jobless creation plan:” getting rid of the business personal property tax, which will increase taxes on families and homeowners and cut critical funding for local units of government and schools.
The one thing it won’t do? Create jobs.
But not everything was darkness at the Statehouse, because some of our ideas did find favor with the House majority:
- A plan that would make it easier for firefighters, police and EMTs to purchase the everyday equipment they need to protect their communities through grants and low-interest loans provided through a Public Safety Equipment Revolving Loan Fund.
- Require the Indiana Attorney General’s office to keep the public better-informed about cases involving the state and its taxpayers.
- An increase in the exemption the state provides for families with children from $1,500 to $2,000 per child.
And we did deal with House Joint Resolution 3, the legislation that attempts to amend the Indiana Constitution to tell us who can marry whom in our state. After hours of debate, it was decided to remove the second sentence of the resolution, which impacts civil unions.
That meant that the process of placing this matter before the voters of Indiana through a statewide referendum has to start over again. If the revised resolution passes this session, it must come back before the Legislature in either 2015 or 2016 in order to go on the ballot in two years.
The debate has not ended this year.
The Senate still can add the second sentence back into the resolution, and if that change gets approved, it could go back onto the ballot this fall. But even if that doesn’t happen, Hoosiers still will have to vote on this issue that has proven to be so divisive. They’ll just have to do it in 2016, not 2014.