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.
“I am proud of what we were able to achieve this legislative session,” said Rep. Zent. “We passed a balanced budget, expanded education opportunities and boosted workforce development. We kept government spending under control and provided significant tax relief.”
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
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.
“Our budget maintains prudent reserves and provides the largest tax cut in state history,” said Rep. Zent. “Even with our tax relief and healthy reserves, we were still able to increase funding for education and infrastructure projects; a critical investment in our state’s future.”
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
Currently, there are nearly two and a half science, technology, engineering and mathematics (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.