Tuesday, May 5, 2009

2009 Legislative Recap

Well...it's not over yet!! The 2009 General Assembly is going into overtime because I, along with more than 70 other House members, voted to kill a budget that overspent your tax dollars by nearly $1Billion dollars!! With the confirmation yesterday of the latest revenue forecast, showing Indiana losing another $255 million dollars, had that budget passed, we would be looking at a $1 billion dollar structural deficit in the next budget cycle. This is YOUR money and I not only voted NO but led the charge in our House caucus to vote NO.

Unlike our friends at the federal level, we absolutely cannot SPEND our way out of the financial tight spot we are in...the only way to balance the budget is to spend less than we are receiving in revenue, which means cutting more spending out of the plan. I believe taxpayers have had enough of government spending their hard-earned money!

At the hands of the Speaker of the House, businesses also got blasted this session with the largest tax increase in the history of Indiana ! During a recession and a 20-yr. low in the economy....this Democratic House voted to INCREASE taxes on ALL businesses by $315 million next year and $365 million dollars the following year to "aid...not FIX" an ailing Unemployment Compensation Fund. I voted NO to protect the struggling companies in Elkhart and St. Joseph Counties ...we MUST do a better job of protecting and creating jobs!!

The Speaker of the House was also successful in killing any conversation about property tax caps, the protection of traditional marriage amendment and he killed ALL pro-life bills.

The Governor will be calling the Indiana House and Senate back into session in the next few weeks to hopefully pass a leaner budget that protects taxpayers.

There were a variety of other bills that passed this session. I co-authored HB 1468 which has become known as the "puppy mill bill". I had worked for 6 months to craft legislation that would bring some accountability to the "bad actors' in the commercial dog breeding world while not promoting heavy-handed government. We were able to deliver on that by giving the Attorney General the authority they needed to seek uncollected or unpaid sales and income tax on this multiple billion dollar industry. We also included in that bill increased animal cruelty statues that will allow local prosecutors to handle complaints of animal cruelty and neglect. That bill generated more input from Hoosiers than any other bill including the budget this session. People are passionate about their animals...on both sides of the issue.

Thanks again for all of your comments and concerns this session. If you want to give me input on the upcoming special session, as it pertains to the budget, please do! I am coming down on the side of "less spending"....I hope you are too!

Stay tuned.
Jackie Walorski
Indiana State Representative