Bosma: House Republicans stand firm on reform agenda

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News release from the Indiana Republican Caucus:

House Republicans stand firm on reform agenda

The following piece was published in today’s Indy Star and was written by Speaker of the House Brian C. Bosma.

(April 1, 2011) – After 34 days in Urbana, Ill., House Democrats finally returned to the Statehouse to conduct the people’s business. Since the legislative strike began, House Democrats identified numerous reasons for leaving without a clear path to return. House Republicans, in stark contrast, stood firm from day one.

When the Democrats returned we stated they were going to return to the same calendar of bills that were ready for consideration the day they left. That is what House Republicans pledged and that is what happened.

While House Democrats have described our agenda as “radical,” I would argue that the only thing outlandish is that we have a clearly stated plan every year and we hold ourselves accountable to it. This idea is a strange concept to some. But House Republicans believe that Hoosiers have a right to know in advance what we plan to do to move our state forward.

Our House GOP “Strengthen Indiana Plan,” announced on Sept. 15, 2010, was created with Hoosiers’ top concerns in mind. Fiscal integrity, job creation and education reform were clearly announced as our top priorities. We told the public what we intended to do if elected — not some nebulous “hope and change” mantra, but specifics on how budgets would be balanced without tax increases, how we intended to create more job opportunities for middle-class Hoosiers, and our hope to give outstanding education options to every Hoosier family regardless of income or zip code.

Our agenda hit home. Hoosiers voted overwhelmingly for reform-minded GOP House candidates. House Democrats garnered only 36 percent of the popular vote.

Republicans stood firm and when Democrats returned Monday we presented a calendar that contained the bills we said we were going to act on and pass. We passed a House budget that protects Hoosier taxpayers by keeping our state in the black without a tax increase. Two years ago, House Democrats demanded a budget that would have spent all of Indiana’s receipts in record time, leaving the state bankrupt like our neighbors. Republicans stood firm, and succeeded in overcoming the Democrats’ tax-and-spend mentality with the help of Gov. Mitch Daniels and our Senate colleagues.

Rewarding high-performing teachers with additional pay, expanding opportunities for families to access education options that are right for their kids, and limiting the content of teacher collective bargaining contracts are likewise not radical ideas to improve public education. In fact, each of these concepts garners popular support among Hoosiers statewide and has been proven to raise the performance of all schools.

House Republicans will continue to work toward final passage of the agenda that voters approved. In the end, Hoosier families and taxpayers will be the winners.

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