STATEHOUSE - Speaker of the Indiana House of Representatives, Brian C. Bosma (R-Indianapolis), announced the end of session, or Sine Die, on Friday evening, closing out a year of priorities achieved. The House Republican agenda, which was released in October, centered on making Indiana a stronger state for future generations, by focusing on fiscal integrity, job growth, and enhanced education opportunities for every Hoosier.
“It is every parent’s hope that their children will be better off than their own generation. But for the first time in history the majority of Americans believe that the next generation will not enjoy a quality of life better than their parents,” said Speaker Bosma.
“We determined that two ways we could have the highest ability to improve life for the next generation: high paying job opportunities and an education that prepares young people for the realities of today’s workforce. I am proud to say that the work of the General Assembly has addressed these critical issues, and much more.
“Our state’s budget also reflects our state’s priorities. House Republicans have improved our state’s fiscal picture by adopting a budget that lives within its means. Over the past decade or more, House Republicans have continually presented lean budgets. Because of this, we have been able to give taxpayers the largest tax cut in the history of Indiana, while meeting our investment objectives and maintaining our reserves, truly making our state the envy of the nation,” said Speaker Bosma.
The House Republicans’ “Own Your American Dream” plan focuses on three key concepts: financial security, matching Hoosier workers with high paying jobs, and making education investments.
Financial Security for Future Generations
“Our priorities are to pass a budget that maintains a strong fiscal reserve and which prioritizes education and roads funding. Our fiscal integrity provides an economic climate that spurs job creation. Hoosier taxpayers deserve nothing less, and our job creation environment will continue to benefit,” said Bosma.
Indiana is one of only nine states that has a AAA credit rating from all three credit agencies. Indiana holds a higher credit rating than the federal government, whose debt has now passed the $16 trillion mark for the first time in our nation’s history. That equates to more than $50,000 of debt for every man, woman and child in the U.S.
“In addition, we also introduced a new conservative concept in state budgeting: paying cash for projects and paying off the state’s debt burden. After all of those goals have been met, and with a proven track record of fiscal integrity, we are in the position to give Hoosiers the largest tax cut in the history of Indiana. This blend of tax relief will have a very positive impact on Hoosiers across the state and provides a tax cut for virtually every Hoosier.”
Bridging the Skills Gap
“We have focused over the past decade on creating the best environment in the midwest through policies that encourage and incentivize companies from all over the world to relocate and grow in Indiana,” said Speaker Bosma. “HEA 1002, the Indiana Career Council (ICC), develops a workforce that will better prepare Hoosiers for the needs of a globally dynamic marketplace,” said Bosma.
According to the Indiana Vision 2025 report published by the Indiana Chamber of Commerce, more than 930,000 Hoosiers lack even the most basic skills to thrive in today’s economy.
Designed to improve coordination, communication and vision for Indiana’s workforce training and career preparation systems, the ICC is a panel that will bring the principal stakeholders in the state’s workforce development efforts together to create a stronger plan to move Indiana forward. Members of the ICC will be charged with aligning the education skills and training provided by Indiana’s educational, job skills and career training systems with the existing and projected needs of the state’s job market. The legislation also puts into law a longitudinal data system to track the effectiveness of the state’s educational and workforce programs.
Leaders in Classrooms; Leaders in Life
“Excellent teachers are central to the success for young Hoosiers. Our state’s budget not only provided additional support to K-12 funding, restoring it to pre-recession level funding, but also directs funding to science, technology, engineering and mathematics [STEM],” said Speaker Bosma.
Currently, there are nearly two and a half STEM jobs for every one unemployed person in Indiana. Despite the economic downturn, these jobs have remained in demand, and will only increase as technology marches on. HEA 1001 creates a STEM Teacher Recruitment Fund and new stipend programs for teachers that are in high demand.
In Indiana, 61 percent of children (ages 3-4) are not enrolled in a preschool program. Only six states have a higher percentage of children not attending a preschool. The budget creates a Pre-K Matching Program. School choice was also expanded for students with disabilities, special needs, and siblings. There is no longer a requirement for students in failing school districts.
“We have worked together to address these issues instead of passing the problems on to future generations to handle. Through our commitment to fiscal integrity, quality jobs, and providing strong education opportunities to our children, the American Dream can be a reality for future generations of Hoosiers,” said Speaker Bosma.