Studying Indiana's top issues
Sunday, July 20, 2014 10:00 PM
In Indiana we pride ourselves on having a citizen legislature. This means lawmakers work at the Statehouse for only part of the year, while maintaining other jobs and pursuits to keep a healthy perspective on what it means to be a Hoosier.
During the legislative "off-season" lawmakers still address vital issues affecting Indiana, by serving on interim study committees.
These assigned committees meet throughout the summer and fall and allow legislators to thoroughly examine and formulate effective, strong solutions to Indiana's most pressing challenges.
This year, I will serve on four committees which will study Indiana's pension fund management, issues affecting our workforce, how to keep Indiana's gaming industry competitive with neighboring states and more.
A number of other important topics will be discussed by study committees, including tax reform and preschool education.
Indiana has been laying the foundation for a pro-jobs economic environment by reducing burdensome taxes on employers, which allows them more resources to expand their operations and hire more Hoosiers.
This summer, the Commission on Business Personal Property and Business Taxation will evaluate the impact of state and local business taxes on our economic climate and make further recommendations on how to best structure Indiana's tax system.
The Fiscal Committee will also hear from local government entities about how they are affected by Indiana's state tax policies.
The long-term future of Indiana relies on the education of our youth. Some studies suggest that children who participate in effective early childhood education programs perform better throughout their school careers.
This year, the Indiana legislature passed a law creating a preschool pilot program in eight counties to help low-income families send their children to preschool. Lawmakers on the Interim Committee on Education will determine how to gauge the effectiveness of Indiana's pre-k pilot program and make recommendations as to whether preschool is an effective use of taxpayer money, before committing to statewide public funding.
There are numerous other issues slated for discussion by the General Assembly this year. Visit www.iga.in.gov and click on "Interim Committees" to view agendas and stream hearings online.
This is also a great time to hear from people throughout the community on issues that are most pressing to you. Please email me at Senator.Boots@iga.in.gov or call 800-382-9467 with your concerns.
State Sen. Phil Boots (R-Crawfordsville) represents District 23. He is an owner of Sagamore News Media, publisher of The Paper of Montgomery County.