Talks resume at Statehouse after brief impasse

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Negotiations on some major issues resumed in the Indiana General Assembly on Monday after a meltdown occurred last week between Democrats who control the House and Republicans who rule the Senate.

Senate Republicans offered a compromise Monday on legislation to delay increases in taxes businesses pay into the state's unemployment insurance fund. The proposed compromise includes some job-creation provisions sought by House Democrats; however, the Republicans rejected harsher penalties that Democrats wanted for businesses who classify workers as independent contractors to avoid paying unemployment taxes.

The Republicans' proposal would require the Labor Department to develop new guidelines for classifying workers for tax purposes. But Rep. David Niezgodski, D-South Bend, said that wasn't enough. He said a true crackdown on companies that cheat is needed.

He and other House Democrats also said the proposal fell short on job-creation efforts through tax breaks and other incentives.

"We believe we need more strength," Niezgodski said.

Talks on those issues—as well as funding flexibility for schools to help offset $300 million in budget cuts—broke off last Thursday, when lawmakers had hoped to finish business and adjourn days before a March 14 deadline set by law for ending the session.

But House Speaker Patrick Bauer, D-South Bend, surprisingly put the House in recess until Wednesday, saying Senate Republicans weren't negotiating in good faith. The move outraged Republicans, especially Senate President Pro Tem David Long of Fort Wayne, and the full Senate met Friday and Monday.

Some House Democrats met in House-Senate conference committees Monday, but the full chamber remained in recess.

Long said Monday that he had talked to Bauer and they had agreed to keep communicating.

"It's water under the bridge," Long said. "Our goal is to get our business completed as soon as possible and move on."

Possibly the biggest sticking point is unemployment insurance.

House Democrats and Senate Republicans approved legislation last year that would raise unemployment insurance taxes on employers beginning next month. The increase was intended to start shoring up an unemployment insurance fund that has borrowed $1.6 billion from the federal government to remain solvent.

But Republicans now want to delay it for one or two years, saying the increase would force employers to lay off workers in a still-struggling economy.

House Democrats want several things in return, including the harsher penalties on companies that cheat the system. They also want to expand eligibility for jobless benefits in order to draw $148 million in federal stimulus dollars for the unemployment fund.

But Republicans say the federal money would only last about two years, but the expanded eligibility would remain and cost the unemployment fund tens of millions of dollars annually.


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  1. Of what value is selling alcoholic beverages to State Fair patrons when there are many families with children attending. Is this the message we want to give children attending and participating in the Fair, another venue with alooholic consumption onsite. Is this to promote beer and wine production in the state which are great for the breweries and wineries, but where does this end up 10-15 years from now, lots more drinkers for the alcoholic contents. If these drinks are so important, why not remove the alcohol content and the flavor and drink itself similar to soft drinks would be the novelty, not the alcoholic content and its affects on the drinker. There is no social or material benefit from drinking alcoholic beverages, mostly people want to get slightly or highly drunk.

  2. I did;nt know anyone in Indiana could count- WHY did they NOT SAY just HOW this would be enforced? Because it WON;T! NOW- with that said- BIG BROTHER is ALIVE in this Article-why take any comment if it won't appease YOU PEOPLE- that's NOT American- with EVERYTHING you indicated is NOT said-I can see WHY it say's o Comments- YOU are COMMIES- BIG BROTHER and most likely- voted for Obama!

  3. In Europe there are schools for hairdressing but you don't get a license afterwards but you are required to assist in turkey and Italy its 7 years in japan it's 10 years England 2 so these people who assist know how to do hair their not just anybody and if your an owner and you hire someone with no experience then ur an idiot I've known stylist from different countries with no license but they are professional clean and safe they have no license but they have experience a license doesn't mean anything look at all the bad hairdressers in the world that have fried peoples hair okay but they have a license doesn't make them a professional at their job I think they should get rid of it because stateboard robs stylist and owners and they fine you for the dumbest f***ing things oh ur license isn't displayed 100$ oh ur wearing open toe shoes fine, oh there's ONE HAIR IN UR BRUSH that's a fine it's like really? So I think they need to go or ease up on their regulations because their too strict

  4. Exciting times in Carmel.

  5. Twenty years ago when we moved to Indy I was a stay at home mom and knew not very many people.WIBC was my family and friends for the most part. It was informative, civil, and humerous with Dave the KING. Terri, Jeff, Stever, Big Joe, Matt, Pat and Crumie. I loved them all, and they seemed to love each other. I didn't mind Greg Garrison, but I was not a Rush fan. NOW I can't stand Chicks and all their giggly opinions. Tony Katz is to abrasive that early in the morning(or really any time). I will tune in on Saturday morning for the usual fun and priceless information from Pat and Crumie, mornings it will be 90.1