Indiana General Assembly still at an impasse

The Republican-controlled Indiana Senate kept working Friday while House Speaker Patrick Bauer adjourned his Democrat-led
chamber until Wednesday after a blowup in negotiations over unemployment insurance taxes and other major issues.

Bauer, D-South Bend, had set a tentative adjournment date for ending the session the previous night, days before a March
14 adjournment deadline set by law. But he abruptly put the House into recess late Thursday, saying negotiations with Senate
Republicans had gone sour and that they weren't doing enough to create jobs.

A few major issues have yet to be resolved, including unemployment insurance tax increases, ways to help schools offset some
of the $300 million in budget cuts imposed by Republican Gov. Mitch Daniels, and tax breaks and incentives designed to create
jobs.

"This is just a time out to get people to calm down," Bauer said Friday in his office to the side of the empty
House chamber.

Bauer blamed part of the breakdown on Senate Tax Chairman Brandt Hershman, R-Lafayette, and a top negotiator on the unemployment
insurance issue, leaving the Statehouse for more than two hours Thursday night to attend a GOP Lincoln Day dinner in neighboring
Boone County.

But Republicans, including Daniels, said Bauer was only using that as an excuse to blow things up. Daniels said Bauer has
a pattern of doing that.

"They (House Democrats) looked around for some handy excuse to do what they wanted to do anyway, and that is walk off
the job," Daniels said.

House Minority Leader Brian Bosma, R-Indianapolis, said Republicans had offered an excellent compromise on the key issues
still pending.

"It was just bizarre that he threw a temper tantrum last night and shut the place down," Bosma said.

Hershman, who is running for Congress in the state's 4th District, said he had intended to skip the dinner, but decided
to go because a top Democrat had asked for a break in negotiations to review some proposed compromise provisions.

Senate President Pro Tem David Long, R-Fort Wayne, said Bauer's blaming Hershman to justify shutting down the House and
negotiations was "the most unfair attack I have seen in 22 years in politics, bar none."

The Senate worked Friday passing compromise bills, but they need House approval before being sent to Daniels for his consideration.
Long said Senate Republicans and Democrats and House Republicans would hold conference committee meetings Monday and Tuesday
and hoped Bauer would have House Democrats take part.

Bauer said he was glad to hear that and negotiations would continue early next week, but he didn't plan to call the entire
House back until Wednesday.

A major hang-up was a proposed delay of increases in taxes that employers pay into the state's unemployment insurance
fund, which has borrowed $1.6 billion from the federal government to remain solvent. Republicans say without a delay in the
tax increases set to take effect in April, many employers would be forced to lay off workers.

But Bauer said in return for going along with a delay, Republicans should agree to new penalties on businesses that misclassify
workers as independent contractors so they can avoid paying unemployment taxes on them, as well as a package of tax breaks
and incentives that he said would create 60,000 jobs.

Republicans said the jobs proposals were hastily put together and could cost the state millions in lost tax revenue, but
they were willing to refine some of them and approve them. And they said the proposed new system for penalizing companies
for misclassifying workers would have a chilling effect on the business community.

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