GOSHEN — The Indiana House and Senate are set to convene for the first day of their new session this week, setting the stage for what looks to be a very busy and potentially controversial 2014.
To find out just what’s on the table for the coming year legislation-wise, The News recently chatted with a few local politicians to find out their predictions for some of the bigger issues facing the General Assembly this session, as well as a breakdown of some of the personal bills they’ll be sponsoring.
State Sen. Carlin Yoder, District 12
For State Sen. Carlin Yoder, the upcoming legislative session will likely bring with it two or three major bills with the potential for some significant change in Indiana, the first of which seeks to eliminate the personal property tax from state businesses — a move which would take away about $1 billion in annual revenue for local governments and schools if an adequate funding replacement is not found.
“Gov. Pence has laid out his road map for the year, and at the top of that is the elimination of the personal property tax for businesses,” Yoder said. “Personally, I’m a little wary of that issue. I hate the tax — I think it’s a horrible tax that hurts business — but at the same time, I think we have to be careful we don’t hamstring local governments by eliminating that funding source without an alternative. So I’m not sure what will happen with that. I’m always in favor of eliminating taxes, but I think we need to be careful with this one.”
Also on Yoder’s radar for the upcoming session is a bill being pushed by Pence to establish a voucher program to fund early childhood education programs for low-income families. Through the new program, vouchers would be available to households earning up to 185 percent of the federal poverty level and could be used either during the school year or the summer preceding kindergarten.