Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

General Assembly Stayed Open, Got Its Business Done COMMUNITY COMMENT

Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

General Assembly Stayed Open, Got Its Business Done COMMUNITY COMMENT

Article excerpt

With the 2012 legislative session in the rearview mirror, the two-year work of the 117th General Assembly elected in November 2010 is complete. Despite unprecedented protests, boycotts and walkouts, Republican leaders continued our charge to "Keep Calm and Carry On" for Hoosier taxpayers. The clear message sent: despite historic challenges, Indiana is open for business.

There were skeptics when I announced my primary focus would be to make Indiana the 23rd right to work state in the nation and the only one in the industrial Midwest. But now that the dust has settled and we are the first state to make this leap successfully in a dozen years, economic development officials are reporting an immediate response. State and local officials have cited more than 30 employers that are reconsidering Indiana for their expansion plans, with five or more deals already closed or nearly so.

Hoosiers will see the positive effects of right to work in the months ahead and for decades to come.

But historic right to work legislation was only the beginning.

After decades of discussion we funded full-day kindergarten for every local school, making a full day option available to every 5- year-old in the state. We provided additional relief for victims of the Indiana State Fair tragedy, bolstered pension funds for conservation officers, state police and teachers, and provided nearly $200 million in taxpayer refunds which will be returned to every Hoosier income taxpayer in the immediate future. We enacted long-sought government reforms by ending the practice of government employees serving on their own legislative boards, or hiring and supervising close relatives, and for the first time since the adoption of the Open Access to Records Act, we provided means for courts to enforce penalties for noncompliance by local officials.

We continued to streamline state government by eliminating 20 bureaucratic boards and more than 200 positions deemed ineffective, inefficient or duplicative by the Select Committee on Government Reduction. …

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