The Herald Bulletin

April 15, 2014

Viewpoint: Improving the job climate for our communities

By Rep. Jack Lutz R-Anderson
The Herald Bulletin

---- — Looking back at the 2014 legislative session, I am pleased that the Indiana House Republicans accomplished everything we set out to achieve. Some of our priorities included cutting taxes to attract businesses to our state, equipping Indiana’s workforce to meet current job market needs and shrinking bureaucracy by eliminating burdensome regulations. Through legislation I supported this session, I was proud to be a part of improving Indiana for businesses and Hoosiers alike.

Unfortunately, unemployment still remains a major issue in our local communities. The unemployment rate in Madison County is 8.1 percent, and in Delaware County, it is 7.8 percent. By comparison, the statewide average is 6.9 percent. This is a pressing concern that requires our full attention.

One way to attract new businesses is to alleviate their tax burden. Indiana, compared to surrounding states, has the highest business personal property tax (BPPT) rate. To address this issue, I supported Senate Enrolled Act (SEA) 1, which provides counties the option of deciding whether or not to exempt new investments on business equipment from the personal property tax. SEA 1 also phases down the corporate income tax and the financial institutions tax, bringing both down to 4.9 percent. When fully implemented, Indiana will have the second lowest corporate income tax rate in the nation. Each of these measures will help attract new businesses to Indiana and create more jobs for Hoosiers.

Equally important to attracting businesses to Indiana, we need to make sure Hoosiers are equipped to fill the available jobs. Over 930,000 Hoosiers, roughly one-third of our state’s workforce, are lacking the ne cessary skills to find a job in today’s globally dynamic marketplace. Shrinking the skills gap could help shrink the high unemployment in our communities, which is why I supported House Enrolled Act (HEA) 1003, which provides greater incentives for employers to work with educational institutions to provide internships in today’s high-wage, high-demand fields. Those opportunities will help younger Hoosiers obtain the skills needed to better compete for these jobs.

A third step in improving our local business climate was to reduce government bureaucracy. This session, I supported HEA 1005 which eliminates duplicative code and red tape. Requiring small businesses to jump through government hoops can be costly and hurt their ability to succeed. This legislation makes life easier and reduces the burden facing job creators in our state.

Ultimately, the 2014 legislative session was a great success, and I am very proud of our efforts to grow the private sector by shrinking the size and scope of government. Now that session is over and I am back in our community full-time, I encourage you to contact me with your thoughts about the issues addressed this session as well as any concerns you might have. I look forward to hearing from you.

State Rep. Jack Lutz, R-District 35, represents portions of Madison and Delaware counties.