Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

Top Proposals Shift Chambers ; Lawmakers Taking Up Bills from across the Hall

Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

Top Proposals Shift Chambers ; Lawmakers Taking Up Bills from across the Hall

Article excerpt

INDIANAPOLIS - Gov. Mike Pence characterized this General Assembly session as "remarkably productive" in highlighting progress on his legislative priorities last week. But he revealed his administration is in discussions with lawmakers on two key pieces of his agenda - a reduction of the business personal property tax and state-funded vouchers for prekindergarten.

Both proposals may require the most heavy lifting as the Indiana House and Senate begin hearing legislation sent over from the other chamber Monday.

At the midpoint of the 2014 session, lawmakers have endorsed a wide range of proposals from the House's approval of a Pence-led tax credit for adoptive families to sending $400 million already allocated in the state budget to road funding.

"We're getting things done for Hoosiers on a broad range of areas in economic development, jobs, schools, infrastructure and workforce development," Pence said. "We're getting things done in many cases in a broad, bipartisan basis that I think it should be a source of great encouragement for Hoosiers."

With lawmakers hesitant to reopen the state's budget, some of the proposals push back funding decisions to 2015 as is the case with the prekindergarten vouchers and a stipend for high-performing teachers to move to schools struggling academically.

At least six of the bills in Pence's legislative agenda require studies on topics such as "adult high schools" or educational alternatives for dropouts and the economic potential of the state's regional cities.

On prekindergarten vouchers, Pence said his administration is meeting with senators on Housesponsored legislation that creates a pilot program for the state's neediest children. In making the case for vouchers the Pence-created Center for Education and Career Innovation released a report on the positive outcomes of early childhood education and approximated the maximum cost of the pilot program at $10.6 million.

"We're working very diligently to make that case," Pence said. …

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