Greensburg Daily News, Greensburg, IN

Columns

March 18, 2014

Successful session comes to a close

Leadership is about setting a vision and bench-marking goals.

I was pleased that the House Republican caucus set the right tone for this session and successfully accomplished our goals that we laid out in January. We set our sights on the business personal property tax, funding for roads, bridging the skills gap, preschool education and reducing government regulation.

With the business personal property tax (BPPT), Indiana is an outlier on this issue, having the highest business personal property tax rate in the Midwest. We also recognized however that simply removing the tax could have serious consequences to some of our local governments. That’s why we proposed giving counties options to eliminate the business personal property tax on new investments.

The bill that passed includes other tax reforms like phasing down the corporate income and financial institution tax rates to 4.9 percent; the state’s corporate income tax rate would be the second lowest in the country once fully phased in. All of these reforms are meant to give counties more options to attract businesses and jobs to their community.

Being business-friendly is not just about taxes though, it’s also having a very closely connected infrastructure system that is highly functional. In Indiana, 1.7 million jobs depend on transportation in industries such as tourism, retail sales and agriculture. That’s why the House passed House Enrolled Act (HEA) 1002 to provide up to $400 million in additional funding for state highway construction projects. Our state’s focus on fiscal integrity allowed us to prudently allocate these additional funds now, supporting thousands of Hoosier jobs.

Structure is only the first step when it comes to job creation – a workforce is also key. More than 930,000 Hoosiers lack the most basic job skills needed for today’s economy. HEA 1003 provides additional incentives to employers who partner with education institutions to provide internships in high wage, high demand jobs. Many Hoosier corporations have noted that a strong educational start helps in addressing future educational needs. Children who aren’t ready for kindergarten are half as likely to read proficiently by third grade, and children who aren’t reading proficiently by third grade are four times more likely to drop out of high school.

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