Elected Officials Look Ahead to New Session

Revenue projections for the state of Indiana have area representatives thinking about items to tackle during the upcoming session of the General Assembly.

The state budget committee reviewed revenue forecasts in December, showing a 2.3-percent uptick in 2015 and a 2.4-percentage point increase the following year.

Revenue increases may add to the discussion taking place to reform the school funding formula according to 5th District State Senator Ed Charbonneau. He sits on the Senate’s Appropriations Committee, as well as a subcommittee of the State Budget Committee.

Charbonneau says it’s fortunate the school funding formula is being considered now.

“We’ve hit this time when we’re charged with drafting a new two-year budget, with the concerns for education and school funding formula, at a point in time when we’re saying we do have some new money that we can put into the equation,” says Charbonneau.

Governor Mike Pence has previously said he wants the upcoming session to be an “education session.”

Other legislation is anticipated to be considered starting in January, and 16th District State Representative Doug Gutwein says the Labor Committee he chairs could be contributing in the form of work-share legislation.

He says the bill would likely allow solutions incase business slows for employers in the state.

“Rather than laying people off, they would actually cut hours, cut them down to 32 hours instead of 40, and keep everybody on, their benefits would continue to go on, their healthcare and so forth,” says Gutwein.

The concept would likely first be studied through the Department of Workforce Development prior to implementation.

Legislators will return to work in Indianapolis on January 6th.