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General Assembly will have busy session PDF Print E-mail
Written by Erika Schmidt Russell   
Monday, December 31, 2012 9:16 PM

Besides crafting a biennial budget, the Indiana General Assembly also will have its hands full with implementing Obamacare, or the affordable care act, and protecting Indiana’s gaming
industry.

Local legislators discussed the upcoming session at the Dearborn County Chamber of Commerce annual prelegislative luncheon Thursday, Dec. 20. Dearborn County’s lobbyist from Indianapolis was unable to attend because she had been involved in a car accident, but was OK, said Chamber Legislative Affairs Chairman Charlie Blankenship.

State Sen. Johnny Nugent, R-Lawrenceburg, said he is looking forward to the inauguration of Mike Pence as governor.


Hoosiers, unlike those in Michigan or Illinois or Ohio, are represented by a part-time citizen legislative assembly.

Many of the 150 members are also relatively inexperienced, all elected in the past two to four years, said Nugent.

That inexperience is an opportunity for new and fresh
ideas, he said.

Indiana’s income forecast is good, with projected increases in income and sales tax revenues.

The state’s biggest challenge is not the budget but responding to and implementing Obamacare, said Nugent.

Rep. Randy Frye, R-Greensburg, agreed with Nugent the state is in good financial shape, so good the state will be rebating $111 per taxpayer because it has a surplus.

“What that does is average out that every Hoosier who pays taxes gets about a 10 percent tax cut,” said Frye.

Indiana has passed legislation that is pro-business, with a lower corporate tax rate, and passed right-to-work legislation. Passing right-to-work has prompted other states, including Michigan,
to do so, so those states can compete, said Frye.

The costs for Obamacare could be astronomical, he said.

Meanwhile, converting to using more natural gas/propane in state vehicle fleets and in the private sector is providing encouraging results, said Frye.

Rep. Jud McMillin, RBrookville, also noted the challenges of Obamacare.

From an economic standpoint, even with those challenges, it is a good time to be a Hoosier, and even better for those in Southeastern Indiana.

In the Midwest, Indiana, and in the state, the southeast, are number one in jobs and
growth.

The next biggest challenge is the gaming ind u s t r y. I n d i - ana has to be proactive not
reactive. We can’t wait to see what Ohio does or Kentucky does. It is what Indiana can do to
retain its marketshare, said McMillin.

The issue of dealing with gaming leads into the other issue of jobs, since Indiana has become reliant on the revenues. The state has to pursue other avenues, and it is poised to do so because it has passed right-to-work and has a low corporate tax rate, said McMillin.

Dearborn County is ready for those new jobs, with incoming commissioner Kevin Lynch taking
a seat in 2013. Lynch brings experience with redevelopment and job issues from years of service on the Greendale Redevelopment Commission, said county administrator Terri Randall.

The county will continue to work closely with the l e g i s l a t u r e , and the county needs to focus on roads and infrastructure so it can be ready for job and business growth, added
Randall.