Closing In On The End Of The 2014 Legislative Session




INDIANAPOLIS – In a few more days, the 2014 session of the Indiana General Assembly will be over.

And the postmortems will begin. I fearlessly predict that the governor and his super-majorities in the House and Senate will grandly pronounce that the session was a resounding success.

Unfortunately for the citizens of Indiana, they are wrong.

They will attempt to make you believe they have improved our state’s economy by passing a “jobless creation” program that will serve only to increase corporate profits at the expense of putting Hoosiers back to work.

Instead of ending the divisive debate over who can marry whom in Indiana, they prolonged it for another two years.

They did nothing to reduce the burdens faced by our middle class or make the path easier for our children to prepare for a quality education.

But there were efforts this session to help Hoosiers.

Here is what Indiana House Democrats proposed:

…putting Hoosiers back to work and helping them earn a decent wage:

  • Increasing the state’s minimum wage from $7.25 to $8.25 an hour (House Bill 1126).
  • Giving the people of Indiana a chance to say whether or not they supported an increase in the state’s minimum wage (House Bill 1126).
  • Identifying our best and brightest in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), and encouraging them to stay In Indiana by giving them a break from paying state income taxes and helping them pay off their student loans (House Bill 1201 + Senate Bill 330).
  • Studying Indiana’s wage equity gap that finds Hoosier working women earning only 73 cents for every dollar earned by a man (House Bill 1226).
  • Restoring the state’s Small Business Innovation Program to help companies engaged in technological innovations (House Bill 1020).
  • Establishing Manufacturing Reinvestment Accounts to help small businesses purchase equipment and hire new workers (House Bill 1020).
  • Creating an Indiana Goes Back to Work Tax Credit to encourage employers to hire unemployed and underemployed Hoosiers (House Bill 1020).
  • Increasing the state’s earned income tax credit, called “the best anti-poverty, the best pro-family, the best job creation measure” by none other than Ronald Reagan (House Bill 1211).

…helping Hoosier families and workers:

  • Asking Congress to restore unemployment benefits for more than 70,000 out-of-work Hoosiers (House Bill 1346).
  • Increasing the exemption the state provides families with children to $2,000 per child (House Bill 1211).
  • Studying the reasons behind Indiana’s appalling numbers of sexual assaults of teen girls (Senate Bill 227).
  • Getting rid of Indiana’s failed wage suppression law (House Bill 1346).
  • Funding solutions to find the best ways to reduce the number of child deaths in Indiana (Senate Bill 408).
  • Creating a Hoosier Women Veterans Program to help those who have sacrificed so much for our country after they have completed their service (House Bill 1117).

…avoiding divisive social issues:

  • Getting rid of the proposal attempting to amend the state Constitution to tell the world who can marry whom in Indiana (House Joint Resolution 3).

…helping our communities:

  • Providing more than $500 million in state funding for streets, roads and bridges (House Bill 1002).
  • Helping firefighters, police and EMTs purchase the everyday equipment they need to keep their communities safe (House Bill 1266).

…restoring trust in government:

  • Requiring the state’s Inspector General to provide regular updates on investigations of fraud or abuse in state government (House Bill 1121).
  • Studying the effectiveness of our state’s efforts at privatizing taxpayer services (Senate Bill 394).
  • Requiring the State Board of Finance to keep the public better-informed whenever it transfers millions of your tax dollars from one account to another (Senate Bill 106).
  • Prohibiting “pay-to-play” in Indiana by preventing people and companies seeking taxpayer-funded incentives from contributing to candidates for statewide offices and the Legislature (House Bill 1020).
  • Requiring the Indiana Attorney General to keep us better-informed about cases involving your tax dollars (House Bill 1005).
  • Asking the Indiana Economic Development Corporation to be more honest about the effectiveness of our state’s job creation programs (Senate Bill 394).
  • Getting rid of excess educational bureaucracy in state government by eliminating the Center for Education and Career Innovation (CECI) (House Bill 1028).