The Herald Bulletin

Evening Update

Columns

March 21, 2014

Tim Lanane: Republican solutions not solutions at all

The legislative session reflects priorities. It's a chance for lawmakers from around the state to identify the most pressing issues and hash out a way forward.

When the dust settles, success and failure are measured both by what issues leadership prioritized and the solutions crafted to address them. In that light, many will judge the 2014 legislative session as an enormous missed opportunity.

Make no mistake, our state faces very real challenges. Hoosier average incomes stuck near the national average in 1996, jobless rate above the national average for 31 of the last 32 months and an infant mortality rate higher than Cuba and Estonia: These issues are real and command urgent action.

For Senate Democrats, it's simple; our vision for attracting businesses and growing our state's economy starts with higher wages, good schools and healthier communities.

We backed that up by advocating for solutions that would put more money in the pockets of 650,000 Hoosiers now and help ensure tomorrow's workforce has the skills businesses demand by starting them off right in preschool.

Quality early childhood education is a building block to future success. There is no reason why every Hoosier child shouldn't have the same opportunity to arrive in classrooms ready to learn.

We were willing to work together to get things done, like directing a portion of money dedicated to expanding highways to repair local roads. Widened highways are nice, but they're a crossroads to nowhere if businesses can't get their products into local communities. Republicans chose instead to actively block progress and leave potholes unfilled.

So Hoosiers are left with a legislative session defined by a fight over amending the constitution to codify discrimination and sweeping cuts in the corporate income and financial institution tax rates. If you struggle to see how those issues help Hoosiers, you're not alone.

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