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Indiana House GOP makes no guarantees on tax cuts

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Tax cuts being pushed by gubernatorial candidates are hardly guaranteed a rubber stamp from lawmakers, and a state constitutional ban on same-sex marriage could win quick approval next year, Republican House Speaker Brian Bosma said Thursday as he rolled out his caucus's 2013 agenda.

Republican Mike Pence has called for cutting the personal income tax by 10 percent, and Democrat John Gregg has called for removing the sales tax on gasoline and abolishing the corporate income tax for Indiana-based companies.

But Bosma cautioned that the state had already committed to eliminating the inheritance tax and any new cut would have to consider the long-term implications for the state, not the short-term popularity of campaign promises.

"I stopped the last governor from raising taxes, which he felt from a short-term view needed to happen, but we were convinced the state could get through two budget cycles without a tax increase and that's the way it turned out. And I've been thanked a couple of times," Bosma said of Gov. Mitch Daniels' effort to raise the income tax on high-earners when he first took office.

Bosma also said Thursday he "wouldn't be shocked" if lawmakers sign off on a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage next year. An affirmative vote by the Legislature would place the issue before voters in 2014. Indiana already defines marriage as between one man and one woman, but supporters argue it would further cement the law by inscribing it in the state's constitution.

The House Republican agenda generally calls for increasing school access—something Bosma said could include expanding access to school vouchers—and improving vocational training.

Bosma gestured to signs behind him that read "Education" and "Jobs" and said, "If we're not talking about these two issues, I guess the question is 'Are we on things that are important for the future?' "

But he declined to take social issues off the table for 2013, saying he would respect the will of his members. Such issues, including defunding Planned Parenthood and revoking specialty license plates for an Indianapolis gay youth group, have increasingly pushed aside fiscal issues in the Statehouse.

Senate Republicans also worked this year on a measure to teach creationism in public schools and are expected to consider a similar measure in 2013.

Rep. Scott Pelath, Michigan City Democrat, said social issues will be front and center next year, despite their absence from the written agenda.

"The translation is he has chairmen that will not be able to help themselves and he will not stand in their way," Pelath said of Bosma.

The House Republicans' presentation followed shortly after Daniels announced Thursday the state would be paying in $360 billion into various public employee pension funds.

Daniels said Thursday that $207 million will be invested in teacher pensions, along with $90 million toward judges' pensions and $32 million for police pensions. The state closed its latest budget with roughly $2.2 billion in cash reserves. The state's automatic taxpayer refund mandates that $720 million of that money be split between returns to taxpayers and state pension funds.

Daniels dismissed concerns about the teachers' fund Thursday, but Senate Appropriations Chairman Luke Kenley, a Noblesville Republican, noted the problem will easily cost the state billions of dollars.

State pension officials told lawmakers this year the teacher pension payouts could begin costing the state $1 billion a year in about a decade. State Budget Director Adam Horst noted Thursday the state already pays roughly $750 million annually to teachers hired before 1996 and is well-positioned to handle future increases.

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  • Huh?
    So, the party should be concerned about jobs and education and yet they are going to get bogged down in social issues instead? Again I want Mr. Pence, Mr. Bosma, and others to help me understand how they want to be the people of reduced government that is also the people of government intrusion into personal lives.
  • saving money
    If Indiana wanted to save some money here are a few good ways. Fire lazy workers. Useless workers. Cut pay on most state employees. Stop wasteless spending. Cut tax on the poor raise tax on the rich after all the poor made the rich, rich. Use tobacco tax money and stop spending millions telling people to quit smoking adults know the risk. Use your brain understand what's important and what is not.
  • Good grief...
    So, the Indiana GOP is making no promises about doing things that may help the economy of the state, but is all too happy to do things that will further reduce Indiana's ability to recruit young professionals? This is why split government is best, with each party controlling a separate house...

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  1. If what you stated is true, then this article is entirely inaccurate. "State sells bonds" is same as "State borrows money". Supposedly the company will "pay for them". But since we are paying the company, we are still paying for this road with borrowed money, even though the state has $2 billion in the bank.

  2. Andrew hit the nail on the head. AMTRAK provides terrible service and that is why the state has found a contractor to improve the service. More trips, on-time performance, better times, cleanliness and adequate or better restrooms. WI-FI and food service will also be provided. Transit from outlying areas will also be provided. I wouldn't take it the way it is but with the above services and marketing of the service,ridership will improve and more folks will explore Indy and may even want to move here.

  3. They could take the property using eminent domain and save money by not paying the church or building a soccer field and a new driveway. Ctrwd has monthly meetings open to all customers of the district. The meetings are listed and if the customers really cared that much they would show. Ctrwd works hard in every way they can to make sure the customer is put first. Overflows damage the surrounding environment and cost a lot of money every year. There have been many upgrades done through the years to help not send flow to Carmel. Even with the upgrades ctrwd cannot always keep up. I understand how a storage tank could be an eye sore, but has anyone thought to look at other lift stations or storage tanks. Most lift stations are right in the middle of neighborhoods. Some close to schools and soccer fields, and some right in back yards, or at least next to a back yard. We all have to work together to come up with a proper solution. The proposed solution by ctrwd is the best one offered so far.

  4. Fox has comments from several people that seem to have some inside information. I would refer to their website. Changed my whole opionion of this story.

  5. This place is great! I'm piggy backing and saying the Cobb salad is great. But the ribs are awesome. $6.49 for ribs and 2 sides?! They're delicious. If you work downtown, head over there.

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