INDIANAPOLIS—In a meeting with press Thursday afternoon, Senate Democratic Leader Tim Lanane (D-Anderson) outlined a number of proposals from the Senate Democratic Caucus agenda. Their legislative proposals and budget priorities reflect the principles of rebuilding the state’s economy, schools and local communities.
“We’ve heard the governor and others put many of the issues we are looking to tackle on the table,” said Sen. Lanane. “We have a number of proposals that I know will move Indiana forward for all Hoosiers.”
Jobs and Economic Success
Online sales tax collection: Indiana retailers, who employ more than half a million Hoosiers, are losing an estimated $2.9 billion in business annually to online retailers. The proposed legislation would require all online retailers with any presence in the state to collect sales tax, leveling the playing field for local businesses and providing the state with an estimated $200 million in uncollected sales tax revenue. SB 309 is authored by Senator Broden.
The “Work-share” option to avoid temporary lay-offs is already available to businesses in twenty-one states. “Work share” evens out the economic highs and lows for businesses and allows them to keep workers on the job during slow periods. The program allows employers to reduce the workweek of their employees in lieu of layoffs. The affected employees receive a portion of the unemployment benefit they would receive if laid off. Senator Skinner is authoring SB 438.
Restricting employer use of consumer credit history in hiring: Past credit decisions should not hold individuals back from gainful employment. Under proposed legislation, an employer would be prohibited from using an applicant’s credit history for hiring and employment purposes with exceptions for some careers. In a time of economic recovery, we should remove all barriers to hard working Hoosiers finding well-paying jobs. SB 299 is authored by Senator Taylor.
Providing our veterans with good-paying jobs and paths to successful business ownership is an important way of showing our gratitude for their sacrifices. Requiring a certain percentage of state contracts to be offered to veteran-owned businesses will help our veterans use their skills to create and maintain successful businesses. (SB 271 is authored by Senator Arnold)
Providing employers tax credit incentives to hire returning vets is another way the General Assembly can encourage the development of jobs for veterans at a time the Hoosier veteran unemployment rate is 8.3%. (SB 504 is authored by Senator Skinner)
“New hire” tax credits for smaller employers would provide Indiana’s small businesses with the same tax benefit for new hires that is available to larger companies under the New Employee Tax Credit established in 2010. The proposed legislation would eliminate the 10-employee minimum qualification now required under the program, providing any sized business with a tax credit equal to 10 percent of the wages paid for qualified new hires during a 24-month period. Senator Taylor is authoring SB 427.
Training for tomorrow
Oversight of turnaround school management organizations will ensure guidance for the Indiana Department of Education to oversee organizations contracted by the state to take over underachieving public schools. The bill provides specific standards to regulate those private organizations contracted for public school takeovers. Senator Rogers is authoring SB 426.
Requiring Hoosier children to attend full-day kindergarten will ensure our children receive an early education to prepare for successful careers in adulthood. Beginning with the 2013-2014 school year, this bill requires a student to enroll in a full-day kindergarten program if the student is at least five years of age on August 1. Students in full-day kindergarten learn more in reading and math over the kindergarten year than those in half-day programs. They also exhibit more independent learning, classroom involvement, productivity in work with peers and reflectiveness than half-day kindergarteners. SB 469 is authored by Senator Tallian.
Access to Universal Pre-Kindergarten means Hoosier children would have the opportunity to score higher on achievement tests, graduate from high school at a higher rate and be more likely to attend college than students who don’t have access to pre-k. This bill requires Indiana Department of Education to establish standards, requirements, and guidelines for approving preschool education programs for children four years of age. Senator Taylor is authoring SB 602.
Military medics return with vast practical experience and training in emergency response. Requiring them to go through emergency medical response training upon returning is duplicative and creates a time lag in allowing vets to immediately begin working. SB 290 authored by Senator Hume would allow medics to test-into emergency response licensure and begin working while obtaining full licensure.
A Combat to College program would provide veterans with the opportunity to have military education count towards college credits, have academic counseling, and access to job search assistance to ensure they receive the best, most efficient education needed to acquire work. SB 410 is authored by Senator Young
Rebuilding Main Street from the Ground Up
A highway revolving loan fund would provide low interest loans to counties and municipalities for certain construction projects, including construction of a bridge, culvert, highway, road, or street. The quality and maintenance of Indiana roads, bridges, and other infrastructure is paramount to the state’s economic vitality and quality of life. Senator Skinner is authoring SB 150.
Diverting a portion of the gas tax to locals would provide counties, cities, and towns the funding and flexibility needed to progress on road and streets projects. Less money is being devoted to local roads, and the results are evident around the state with crumbling asphalt, closed bridges, and rural roads turned back to gravel. Senator Skinner is authoring SB 440, SB 441, and SB 505.
Sen. Lanane represents Indiana Senate District 25 includes the portions of Madison and Delaware counties, including the City of Muncie and the southeastern portion of the City of Anderson. For more information on Sen. Lanane, his legislative agenda or other State Senate business call 1-800-382-9467 or visit www.IN.gov/S25 .
NOTE: Audio from the media availability can be found below:
SEN. LANANE: “I think this week we’ve seen from the governor a willingness to work with the other branches of government…”
A photo of Sen. Tim Lanane can be downloaded at http://www.in.gov/legislative/senate_democrats/images/headshots/Lanane.JPG