Brace yourself, because things in this legislative session are destined to get messy: the politics, the process, the personalities,
the context, and the issues and their substance, all at once.
The key legislative item at this point remains House Bill 1001, the budget bill.
Although the Kernan-Shepard report focused on local government efficiencies, it is also clear that the management of Indiana’s
public resources and assets at the regional and state level has not kept pace with the technological and socioeconomic advances
of the last century.
The state’s two biggest pension funds are poised to combine into one Indiana Public Retirement System, with a single executive
director and board.
Positive action, action for the sake of action, and inaction were all on tap in the General Assembly in recent days as lawmakers
prepared to wrap up the first half of the session.
Now expecting $935 million less in annual revenue than they did a year ago, legislators will spend the next four months arguing
over budget cuts.
Several major issues with business implications are expected to receive ample attention when legislators convene next month,
particularly the continuing saga of property-tax relief and the state’s ability to pay jobless benefits.
A state-funded study of Indiana’s charter schools has found that “no practical difference” exists between the alternative
schools and traditional public schools.
Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels has no plans to repeat Indiana’s tax-amnesty program that recovered about $245 million from delinquent
payers in 2005.
The first version of the $25.6 billion state budget, passed by the Democratic majority in the Indiana House of Representatives
Feb. 22, didn’t include any money for the Indiana 21st Century Research and Technology Fund, which provides financial assistance
to promising high-tech startups.