State Sen. Jean Leising
The 2013 legislative session came to an end recently with passage of our state’s next two-year budget. As other states struggle to find ways to balance their budgets, Indiana has passed an honestly balanced budget that maintains adequate reserves and still provides millions of dollars in tax relief. This was the result of the Indiana Senate, the House of Representatives and Gov. Mike Pence working together to continue Indiana’s record of responsibility.
This budget phases in a 5 percent cut to the individual income tax and completely eliminates the Indiana inheritance tax. It also includes additional funding for local roads. Each of my seven counties will receive additional funding, ranging from $350,000 to $730,000 more per year compared to 2012, to update local infrastructure.
There is no doubt that providing a solid foundation for our children was a top priority at the Statehouse. Nearly two-thirds of the state’s General Fund invests in education: 51 percent in K-12 education and 12 percent in higher education.
While the budget was the most essential bill, there were several bills passed to help the people of Indiana. The legislature approved 147 Senate bills and 148 House bills that were sent to the Governor. The first bill signed by Gov. Pence was a bill I authored, Senate Bill 319, to prevent an estimated $57 million increase in property taxes on agricultural land.
Among the many issues, gaming was addressed in two separate bills this session. Gaming is a vital part of our local economy and an important source of our state’s revenue. The racinos, horsemen and Indiana’s equine industry are pleased with changes in the funding structure in Senate Bill 609. A separate gaming bill provides our gaming facilities relief on taxation of freeplay, which is used to help offset the gaming competition from neighboring states.
Now that the legislative session has ended, there will be several interim committees to study more difficult issues. These meetings will occur from June through October, paving the way for legislation to be introduced in 2014. Please feel free to express your views on any issues being considered.
Please visit www.in.gov/Senator.Leising to keep updated on Statehouse meetings. Always feel free to call 1-800-382-9467 and ask for my legislative assistant.