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Legislators update citizens

 

State Senator Sue Glick, Representative Dennis Zent, and Representative David Ober held a town hall type meeting Saturday in LaGrange. The purpose of the gathering was to update local people on what is happening, or not happening, at the state legislature.

Zent said that, as a freshman legislator, his goal is to “Look, Listen and Learn.” He noted that of the 25 new members of the House of Representatives, 16 are business owners. Zent is on the veterans and finance committees. “We definitely need input from both sides,” he said.

Ober, the youngest member of the legislature at 25, has introduced bills that will take funding for the Indiana State Police and Bureau of Motor Vehicles away from the gasoline tax and return that money to local roads and street funds for use in maintaining roads, and a bill to make a direct turn on locally imposed income tax. Currently, the County Adjusted Gross Income Tax (CAGIT) and Economic Development Income Tax (EDIT) collected in LaGrange County is held in Indianapolis for a year and then returned to the county on the basis of income tax returns filed. There are those who suggest there is a difference in the amount withheld and sent down state and the amount returned.

Glick noted that one of the major things holding up more economic development is the lack of an educated workforce. “I’m not saying everyone needs to have a college education, but there is a great need for welders, plumbers and other skilled tradespeople that employers are not able to find,” she stated. Glick indicated that there will be movement of some bills that will address this problem. She has also filed a bill that will allow more flexibility in the way forfeited bond money can be used.

Glick also noted that half of Indiana’s job growth in 2012 was in the northeastern 10 counties. When asked about the governor’s proposed tax cut, Glick replied, “With over 900 pages of new federal regulations since the November election, and the projected cost of implementing Obamacare hanging over our head, I think the current legislature will go slow on tax cuts and refunds.”

LaGrange County Commissioners Jac Price and Larry Miller were in attendance. Miller stated that two projects currently on the board for LaGrange County are making CR 200N safer in the area of Pallet One and running utility lines to Lippert Industries from CR 200N along SR 9.