Chesterton Tribune

New Duneland State Rep. Scott Pelath issues statement on 2011 session

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State Rep. Scott Pelath, D-Michigan City—whose district, after re-mapping, includes Pine Township and eastern Westchester Township—has issued his report on the 2011 session of the Indiana General Assembly.

Brass tacks, Pelath said: it “was bad for Indiana.”

“The damage that has been done to the people of this state could take years to correct, but Gov. Daniels will be long gone by then—maybe all the way back to Washington,” Pelath said in a statement released this week.

In particular, Pelath said, “We have cut corporate taxes by 25 percent. We have cut temporary assistance for out-or-work Hoosiers by 25 percent. The first is described as a job creation measure, even though the lion's share of its benefits will mostly go to the shareholders and executives of the largest corporations that get the cut. We don't know that the dollars won't wind up in Florida or China. The second is described as a price that must be paid by working men and women who have lost their jobs through no fault of their own. They will be asked to provide for their families with 25 percent less than before.”

“Neither measure does a thing to create jobs for Hoosiers,” Pelath said. “We still have more than 270,000 people out of work, and this Legislature has done nothing to create jobs except (1) try to drive down wages for people who do have jobs and (2) get more money into large, corporate board rooms on the vague hope that they will do something good with it.”

In addition, Pelath said, the “governor has cut state support for schools by $600 million these past two years. He and the Legislature have extended those cuts for another two years, and the $150 million that is being trumpeted as new state assistance will not offset that loss. It merely lessens a much greater cut. Furthermore, about a third of that amount isn’t even going toward day-to-day school operations. Our public schools will be asked to make do with funding levels that are much lower than what was budgeted two—and in some cases four—years ago.”

“Beyond that,” Pelath said, “this budget even contains tax breaks for families that choose to home school their children. These breaks even allow relief from the textbook tax that has plagued Hoosier families for too many years. Does it surprise you that these breaks—the ones I have advocated since 1999—will not be available to the vast majority of families in our state?”

“If it sounds like I am angry about what has happened, then I am conveying my feelings accurately,” Pelath said.

Posted 5/6/2011