One of the major reasons businesses are encouraged to break ground in Indiana and expand their operations here is because of our state's expansive transportation network.

Our caucus has prioritized infrastructure improvements for many years to keep up with the demands of every day motorists and commerce. The budget I authored in 2013 appropriated hundreds of millions of dollars in additional road funding with local units of government receiving almost half of the appropriations.

On top of this, up to an additional $400 million was supported this session to jump start major construction projects that will greatly benefit our state. More than $500 billion in goods traveled on Indiana's transportation system and roughly 1.7 million full-time jobs, in areas like manufacturing and retail sales, are dependent upon the state's infrastructure network.

Cutting Taxes (SEA 1)

Indiana has one of the top, pro-business tax climates, but taxing capital investment puts Indiana at a competitive disadvantage with other states. Compared to other Midwestern states, Indiana has the highest effective business personal property tax rate. House Republicans championed options geared towards making Indiana and its local communities as competitive as possible in attracting new jobs and new business investment to the state. SEA 1 allows counties the opportunity to decide whether to exempt new investments on business equipment from the personal property tax, to grant a small business exemption and to give extended abatement to selected projects. The legislation also draws the state's corporate income and financial institutions tax rate to 4.9 percent. When phased in, Indiana will have the second lowest corporate income tax rate in the nation.

"These cuts are necessary in maintaining our ranking as one of the most pro-taxpayer and business friendly states in the nation. We are giving local governments more tools to attract more business investments and more jobs to their communities, resulting in increased economic growth for our state," said Rep. Brown. "This is a jobs proposal that will keep Indiana growing and highly competitive in attracting employers to the Hoosier state."

Connecting Crossroads to Communities (HEA 1002)

Having a superior, statewide transportation system is crucial to Indiana's economy and future growth. In 2013, over $500B in goods traveled on Indiana roadways. Increasing our investment in roads directly provides job opportunities. HEA 1002, authored by Rep. Brown, provides for an additional $400M in state funds to be allocated to major highway lane projects.

Rep. Brown stated, "Because of our state's strong fiscal position, I wanted to get more construction projects going this summer that will have a major impact on our state. These projects create jobs for Hoosiers and spur more economic development along our major highway system. As the Crossroads of America, we are committed to having the best transportation network in the country that safely moves people, goods and services throughout this great state."

Equipping our Workforce (HEA 1003)

More than 930,000 Hoosiers - one-third of Indiana's workforce - lack the most basic skills needed for today's economy. House Republicans addressed the skills gap by providing additional incentives to employers who partner with education institutions to provide internships in high wage, high demand jobs.

"We have focused over the past decade on creating the best business 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. "We must continue to ensure we have a workforce that will meet the needs of a globally dynamic marketplace."

Preparing Kids for their Careers (HEA 1004)

Children who aren't ready for kindergarten are half as likely to read proficiently by third grade, and children who aren't reading proficiently by third grade are four times more likely to drop out of high school. In 2013, House Republicans initiated a small step towards addressing this issue through an investment in high quality preschool programs. This year, House Republicans achieved their goal of a preschool pilot program that will fund low-income students who attend a high quality program. The program is limited to families at 127 percent of the federal poverty level and below.

"There is no doubt that a high quality education provides the foundation of a child's education. A solid educational foundation provides a child with limitless career opportunities in the future," said Speaker Bosma.

Stopping Burdensome Regulations (HEA 1005)

Speaker Bosma established the Government Reduction Committee in 2010 to better protect Hoosier taxpayers. As a result of this committee's work to have a leaner, more efficient state government, 40 boards and commissions along with over 400 appointments have been eliminated. House Republicans continued this initiative through legislation to eliminate duplicative code, red tape and layers of bureaucracy.

"I have always supported policies that limit government and keep it efficient and effective in the services it provides. HEA 1005 is another example of how we are striving to create a better system of government that best serves Hoosiers," said Rep. Brown.

Dr. Tim Brown (R-Crawfordsville) is the 41st District Indiana Representative.