FROM THE DESK OF SENATOR LONG

The 2005 session began with an explosion of activity in and around the Statehouse. When the General Assembly convened January 4, senators and representatives immediately began working on aggressive proposals to move Indiana in a positive, new direction. Gov. Mitch Daniels already has signed several executive orders to put the wheels of change in motion. Still, it is up to us in the Legislature to debate and enact the remainder of these proposals. Some of these initiatives already are more than halfway through the legislative process, but each will receive the proper consideration and deliberation required.

 

Before his inauguration, Gov. Daniels released a brochure of his executive and legislative agenda. The following is a sampling of the many items the governor has deemed his top priorities:

 

Jobs and Economic Growth

• Enact small business investment and expansion incentive

• Open the EDGE tax credit program to small business

• Increase Research & Development tax credit

• Enact Daylight Saving Time

• Reduce high cost of health care by creating basic health insurance plan

• Expand access to health care by waiving coverage for pre-existing conditions

• Grow Hoosier motor sports industry

• Expand broadband access to Hoosiers and businesses statewide

• Create regional venture capital funds to invest in small business

 

Government Reform

•Reform Bureau of Motor Vehicles

•Help children and parents collect unpaid child support

•Eliminate ineffective boards and commissions

•Help homeowners through optional phase-in of extreme property tax increases

•Consolidate public finance and bonding authority into a single unit

•Collect unpaid taxes through a tax amnesty program

 

Restoring Public Trust in Government

•Enact comprehensive whistle-blower protection and false claims laws

•Strengthen misconduct penalties

•Toughen public bribery and gratuity laws

•Enact lifetime public service ban for those who steal from the state

 

Improving Schools

•Move ISTEP+ testing to the spring

•Simplify school funding

•Expand the charter school program

•Phase in early enrollment for kindergarten to September 1

 

Fairness for Hoosiers Helping Hoosiers

•Encourage charitable work by protecting volunteers, officers, and board members

•Pay college tuition for dependents of fallen National Guard members

•Provide health insurance to families of fallen state troopers

 

While there will be discussions, disagreements and compromises made on the governor’s initiatives, I appreciate the bold, new leadership displayed by our state’s new C.E.O. Please feel free to contact me about any of these proposals or about any other matter being considered by the Legislature.

The Waynedale News Staff

Sen. David Long

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