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[r23] Column: 2014 Session Recap
Start Date: 3/20/2014 All Day
End Date: 3/20/2014
Entry Description
2014 Session Recap

The General Assembly has ended, and the Ides of March are behind us.  Some would assume that better times are ahead for all citizens of Indiana.  Temperatures are warming, and the huge snow piles are melting away.  Improving weather is on the way!

Highway funding was addressed and improved by giving up to $400 million over a two-year period to improve lane problems on the major interstates in the corners of the state.  This is important because it improves our infrastructure and keeps our construction community working.  The $400 million can also leverage federal dollars to bring the value of the appropriation to more than $2 billion.  That means more jobs for several years to come.

Education received attention as a pilot program for low-income children to attend a pre-school program was passed by the Legislature.  The bill would allow high quality programs in five counties, chosen by the administration, to participate.

Also, legislation was passed to link employers and educators to help meet the needs of manufacturers.  Many employers have expressed the need for more vocational programs to meet their available employment opportunities.  Governor Pence has been very supportive of this initiative.

Looking at taxes and how we can continue to stimulate economic growth is always a priority. We passed legislation giving counties the option to exempt the Business Personal Property Tax (BPPT) for small businesses that file for less than $20,000.  It also would allow a “super abatement” of up to 20 years exempting new equipment in Indiana from being taxed.  Local governments previously could use abatement for 10 years. The state’s financial institutions and corporate tax rates will continue to be phased down to 4.9 percent by 2022. These changes make Indiana more competitive in attracting employers and spur job creation. 

The BPPT bill also creates a study to look at the financial results for local governments and schools.  The effective date was adjusted to July 1, 2015, so another General Assembly can make further changes to insure that local revenues are not reduced.  Many in my caucus were adamant that these parts of the bill were included so no reduction in local funding is an unintended consequence.

The criminal code rewrite was also passed.  This bill makes changes to update the way people are sentenced in hopes that the prison population can be reduced and the need for another state prison can be held off for some time.

Thank you for your communications during this session.  I appreciate your participation and involvement in the legislative process; it is crucial for good governance.  I will try to write periodically to keep you informed during the off-season.  

Lastly, I want to give a heartfelt shout out to Whitney Jennings, who is graduating from Logansport High School this spring, for being recognized as Miss Indiana Basketball. I first had the opportunity to meet her when the Chinese Delegation from Jinhua, the Chinese sister city to Logansport, was visiting, and she was one of the people there to help welcome the group to our community. She is an impressive young woman, both academically and athletically. She has a bright future ahead of her. 

Thanks again.  It is an honor and privilege to serve.

More later,

Bill Friend

-30-
Contact Information:
Name: Nicholas R. Goodwin
Phone: (317) 232-9831
Email: nicholas.goodwin@iga.in.gov
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  • Agency Name
    House of Representatives Republican Caucus

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