As a small business owner, I understand the pressures of increasing property taxes, a slow economy and the challenge of living within your means. As a member of the Indiana General Assembly, past member of the Jay County Economic Development Corp. and the Portland Area Chamber of Commerce, I understand the need for good paying jobs in our area. I have been a tireless advocate for bringing new jobs to House District 33. We need to continue to keep taxes low to strengthen the economy and to provide incentives for business to locate in Jay, Randolph and Delaware counties.
During the 2011 legislative session, families were given more chioces for their children’s education regardless of income or zip code, especially those of limited means. Charter schools were first authorized in Indiana in 2001. Now through the charter school bill, these public schools will be able to expand and provide innovative options to public school students. Legislation allowing school choice scholarships will provide families who do not have financial means a scholarship to pay the cost of tuition and fees at a public or private school that meets the needs of the student. Education is one of the few areas in the state budget that will now show an increase in state funding. About 1/4 of $150 million will be used to complete the extension of full day kindergarten to every school district in the state.
A Balanced Budget
I have been a part of three budgets since my election in 2004. The 2009 budget was by far the most challenging. With income falling far below projections, crafting a biennial budget was a daunting task. The fact that we had a billion dollar surplus allowed us to continue to fund areas such as education, medicaid and corrections. The 2011 budget which I supported, structurally balances the budget in both 2011 and 2012 without increasing taxes and also keeps over $1 billion in reserves. It also increases K-12 funding .5% in calendar year 2012 and 1% calendar year 2013.