The Washington Times-Herald

State News

October 4, 2012

With eye on power, House Republicans set agenda

Bosma prioritizes job training, education

INDIANAPOLIS — There’s still a month to go before the November election, but Republicans who dominate the Indiana House of Representatives have already unveiled their legislative focus for the next session.

At a press conference in the House chambers Thursday, Republican House Speaker Brian Bosma said more job training and more education reform, along with a fiscally responsible budget, would top his caucus’ agenda when the General Assembly convenes in January.

Missing from the formal agenda were social issues, including an expected vote on a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage. But Bosma said he “wouldn’t be surprised” if that and other social issues were pushed through by Republicans who are likely to keep their power in the Statehouse — and may gain even more in November.

Bosma offered a grand vision of legislation that he said was aimed at securing the “American dream” for the next generation of Hoosiers. But he said details still need to be hammered out.

Still, he made clear that on the to-do list would be more access to pre-school education for low-income families, a big push for more and better vocational training in high school and beyond, and some serious resistance to the tax-cutting promises made by the men who want to be Indiana’s next governor.

“Some worthy programs have taken it on the chin,” said Bosma, referring to state funding cuts to social services, education, and local public safety services over the last two budget cycles. It’s time, he said, for some “restorations and strategic investments.”

Indiana ended the 2012 fiscal year with a $2 billion surplus, due to continued budget cuts and improved tax collections. Some legislators on both sides of the aisle are eager to spend some of that.

One idea floated by Bosma: expansion of the state’s private-school voucher program to more families, including low-income families who could use the taxpayer-funded voucher to pay for their children’s pre-school education.

Both major-party gubernatorial candidates, Republican Mike Pence and Democrat John Gregg, have vowed to cut taxes if they’re elected in November.

Bosma, though, made it clear that he’s warned both candidates that their promises may be foolhardy. He noted the legislature has already approved a phase-out of the inheritance tax and a lowering of the corporate income tax — both of which will impact state revenues.

 “Any tax cut in addition to those has to be sustainable,” Bosma said. “Our team definitely has a long-term vision, not a campaign-oriented vision, for how we budget.”

Bosma is in a position to make that kind of claim. Republicans, who now hold 60 of the 100 House seats, are expected to pick up even more in November thanks in part to the retirements of a dozen House Democrats.

Brian Howey, a veteran political observer and publisher of Howey Politics Indiana, has said it’s a “distinct probability” that House Republicans could gain enough seats to give them a quorum-proof “super majority.” That means they wouldn’t need a single Democrat vote — or even a Democrat body — to pass legislation out of the House.

House Democrat Minority Leader Linda Lawson issued a somewhat wary response after Thursday’s press conference. She welcomed the emphasis on jobs and education, saying they’ve been the “primary concerns for Indiana House Democrats for years.”

And, unlike her combative predecessor whom she helped to topple, former Minority Leader Pat Bauer, she offered a kind of olive branch.

“In these tough, uncertain times, Indiana House Democrats stand ready to start working together to make sure our children get the education they deserve, all families can afford quality health care, and all Hoosiers can get jobs and keep them,” Lawson said. “We understand that by working together, we will make things better for everyone.”

Maureen Hayden covers the Statehouse for the CNHI newspapers. She can be reached at maureen.hayden@indianamediagroup.com.

1
Text Only
State News
  • Our view: Throw open the doors

    As allegations and scandals continue to explode about hidden wait lists and cooked books at VA medical care facilities across the country, with hints of even more heinous findings to come, we have to wonder why it's business as usual in our nation's

    May 29, 2014

  • nws-gb011714 Land Zeppelin 2 (front page pic) Inventor hopes Bike Zeppelin takes off GREENSBURG - A local civil engineer has created a Zeppelin-shaped apparatus that allows bicyclists to ride in the rain without getting wet. Greensburg resident Jim Gorman remembers the day that inspiration struck: Nov. 22, 2011. It rained all day, an

    January 17, 2014 3 Photos

  • Legislator pushes for public disclosure of former meth homes INDIANAPOLIS – State Rep. Wendy McNamara knew methamphetamine was a scourge on her district in southwestern Indiana, but the damaging effects of the drug really hit her when she met a real estate appraiser who’d suffered lung damage after visiting a

    December 14, 2013

  • Bird statue to be unveiled in Terre Haute Serving double duty as a baseball infielder for the American League's Toronto Blue Jays and basketball guard for Brigham Young University, 20-year-old Danny Ainge found time in March 1979 to drive from Provo, Utah, to Salt Lake City to catch an in-pe

    November 5, 2013

  • news school bill.jpg Pence announces school safety grants

    Flanked by fourth-grade members of the Ambassadors Club and student council at Cedar Elementary School here, Gov. Mike Pence announced more than $9 million in grants for schools statewide to enhance their security.

    November 1, 2013 1 Photo

  • Coats returns home to listen to Hoosiers INDIANAPOLIS -- Republican U.S. Sen. Dan Coats returned home to Indiana this week, hoping to turn the political conversation away from a failed GOP strategy that partially shut down the federal government and toward what he sees as more critical issu

    October 24, 2013

  • Congressman standing firm on government shutdown

    Todd Rokita of Indiana’s Fourth Congressional District has been an outspoken opponent of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act — a k a Obamacare — since it was signed into law in 2010.

    On Tuesday, the first day the federal government partially shut down in 17 years, the Republican congressman wasn’t backing down.

    October 1, 2013

  • Laws that carry automatic loss of driver's license under review INDIANAPOLIS -- The legislative study committee that proposed the massive rewrite of Indiana's felony code will soon take on another tough issue: The automatic penalty that causes thousands of Hoosiers to lose their driving privileges for committing

    September 19, 2013

  • Gingerich_AP PHOTO.jpg Prison sentence of 12-year-old prompts new juvenile sentencing law

    Three years ago, when 12-year-old Paul Henry Gingerich became the youngest person in Indiana ever sent to prison as an adult, his story gained international attention and sparked questions about whether children belong behind bars with grown-up offenders.

    June 14, 2013 2 Photos

  • Supt_Ritz 1 .jpg Ritz orders independent analysis of ISTEP results

    Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz has hired an outside expert to determine the validity of ISTEP+ test scores of nearly 80,000 students who were kicked offline while taking the high-stakes standardized test.

    June 10, 2013 1 Photo