Chesterton Tribune

 

 

Pelath: Lost opportunities squander 'session of promise'

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Indiana House Democratic Leader and Duneland-area Representative Scott Pelath, D-Michigan City, Friday issued the following statement on the 2013 session of the Indiana General Assembly:

“There were countless opportunities to help hard-working middle class Hoosiers during the 2013 legislative session, but the Republican super-majorities and the governor managed to squander almost all of them.

“Consider what should have been our priorities this year, and what was done about them.

“Indiana House Democrats asked that we put the middle class first for once. Create middle class jobs. Reinforce the traditional public schools that most kids attend. Keep health care affordable.

“So what did we do to help?We did nothing to create jobs this session. We did not pass a single bill that will put Hoosiers back to work as soon as possible, unless you choose to get into the business of selling dead rabbits by the side of the road (Senate Bill 457) or become an artisan distiller (House Bill 1293).

“Considering that both the governor and the Speaker said this was a priority, the failure to act this year was unbelievable.

‘What makes it worse is that the vehicle for achieving this goal was ignored. Simply by expanding affordable health care in Indiana, we could have put an estimated 30,000 Hoosiers to work and provided less costly health care options for 400,000 more Hoosiers. Those aren’t figures pulled from the air...they come from the Indiana Hospital Association.

‘Yet Statehouse power-brokers turned their backs on affordable care to pursue an uncertain expansion of a risky statewide program. If their way doesn’t work, there is no Plan B for Indiana to help Hoosiers avoid the emergency room as their primary health care option.

“You will hear a wild claim of more than a billion dollars in tax cuts for Hoosiers, but this claim falls apart upon the simplest of scrutiny.

“Some of these cuts already are in place, most benefit only the very rich, and the income tax cuts will be about a buck a week for the average Hoosier in a couple of years and another buck a week a couple of years after that. How is that going to help anyone with the problems they face today?

“The tax cut is a lose-lose. We’ll have to live without revenue that could help hard-working Hoosiers, and then we won’t get enough back to make a difference in our lives.

“What have we done to help restore local schools? We still haven1t made up the funding cut by the previous administration, and the funding formula doesn’t help schools get back the investments that were promised them. We continue to speed toward a situation where traditional public schools get less and less. The end result? A session of promise has ended with a state suspended in stagnation. Hoosiers have every right to expect more from their lawmakers.”

 

Posted 4/30/2013