Wednesday, March 26, 2008

2008 Legislative Wrap

The 2008 Indiana General Assembly is now in the history books and will certainly go down as a session that delivered some major wins for taxpayers. Especially the 30-40% immediate property tax cut for Elkhart and St. Joseph County homeowners. Let me tell you, those wins didn’t come easily. It was a fight all along the way with those who felt they knew how to spend your money better than you. Not only that, it was a battle to convince them that no Hoosier should ever lose their home because of high taxes. I still firmly believe that until we actually “eliminate” the property tax it will be a source of many court battles and fights between local and state governments. But faced with limited options, this tax plan was the only one that I felt brought some immediate relief to Hoosiers this year. As relieved as I am for homeowners, I am grieved by the many important things that did NOT happen this year under the control of the Democratic House. With Pat Bauer as Speaker and a slim Democratic majority of 51-49 here’s what we got (or didn’t get)!:

  • The Democratic Speaker single-handedly killed the Protection of Marriage Amendment;

  • The Democratic Speaker allowed not even ONE piece of pro-life legislation;

  • The Democratic Speaker again allowed another expansion of gaming in more than 16,000 new facilities, bars and restaurants across the State.

  • The Democratic Speaker also allowed St. Joseph County’s debt to remain outside the Constitutional caps on homeowner’s property taxes, and passing the burden to already over-burdened tax payers!

  • The Democratic Speaker killed every bill that I filed on behalf of District 21 that was “pro-gun owner” or “pro-2nd Amendment”.

As you can see, many family and socially conservative issues have been ignored by the folks in control these past 2 years. They have basically told us that our views don’t matter!I realize these issues do not matter to every Hoosier but they DO matter to the majority of Hoosiers, as expressed in many statewide polls and surveys.It’s time to look forward to the upcoming 8 months where we will have the opportunity, once again, to regain control of the Indiana House by electing 51 Republicans and by electing a Republican Speaker. The differences between our two parties are vast and we will certainly be in for a battle. Whoever controls the Indiana House controls every piece of legislation filed for the next 2 years.
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