House Republicans: Solutions are available, but Democrats are not

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E-mail Newsletter from the Indiana House Republicans:

Solutions are Available, but Democrats are Not
Speaker Bauer abruply adjourns session, leaving schools, jobs in the lurch

(March 5, 2010) House Republicans have been fighting for Hoosier jobs and school funding flexibility all session long. Throughout the 2010 legislative session, House Republicans have put forth numerous proposals and compromises to achieve these goals. Back in November, we announced our legislative agenda that included common sense ideas to grow and retain Hoosier jobs. The most important of which was delaying the unemployment insurance tax increase. The unemployment insurance tax increase passed last year will increase taxes on nearly 80,000 employers who employ over 2 million Hoosiers. Additionally, House Republicans have attempted on multiple occasions to give schools the flexibility to redirect funds to offset the shortfall in funding that came as a result of declining state tax revenue.

By law, the current legislative session must be completed by March 14. However, last week the Speaker proclaimed an arbitrary deadline for Thursday, March 4. As the Speaker’s deadline approached, House Republicans continued working tirelessly to grow and protect Hoosier jobs and to give schools the flexibility they need to fill gaps in their budgets. Two excellent compromises were placed on the table that included the vast majority of the items the Democrats said were critical for a successful session. The jobs compromise included many elements of the Democrat job proposals that were reworked in a way to make them more viable. Additionally, it included the much needed delay of the unemployment insurance tax increase.

The second compromise included provisions that would have allowed schools to transfer monies between funds that would otherwise be prohibited. Schools would have been given the ability to transfer some money without any strings attached, but a second option would have allowed them to transfer twice as much if they agreed to no new general salary increases.

Unfortunately, within an hour of reaching Speaker Bauer’s unilaterally declared “deadline,” the House Majority decided to cease negotiations and adjourn until Wednesday, March 10. This came as a complete surprise to House and Senate Republicans. The House Republican Caucus will continue their efforts on the jobs front and to ensure that schools have the flexibility they need to keep teachers in the classroom.

For more information, visit the House Republican Web site.

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