Lanane Op-Ed: What really matters

Published On: March 20th, 2014Categories: Caucus, Tim Lanane

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 is 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.

Proponents like to say we have the most competitive business climate in the Midwest. That may be true, but the fact is Ohio, Kentucky, Michigan and even Illinois all experienced at least twice as many significant new facilities or expansions per capita last year. More of the same isn’t helping Indiana and it’s doing nothing to raise incomes or build better communities.

What’s worse, the total price tag on recently-enacted tax cuts is nearly $6 billion by 2023. I’m certain $6 billion would go a long way toward any of a number of more pressing concerns like reducing class sizes, retraining workers or resurfacing roads.

Good paying jobs matter. Quality schools matter. Strong communities matter. To that end, Senate Democrats are committed to advocating for a common sense approach that prioritizes Hoosiers.

The work of the legislature means nothing if we can’t find ways to raise Hoosiers’ standard of living. We’ve been down the road Republican leaders directed us this session before: Hoosiers are still stuck choosing between which bills they can afford this month, local roads are still cratered and schools are so tight up they’re turning to bus advertising. What evidence is there that this time around Republican “solutions” will have any different result?

Sen. Lanane represents Indiana Senate District 25 includes the portions of Madison and Delaware counties, including the City of Muncie and the southeastern portion of the City of Anderson. For more information on Sen. Lanane, his legislative agenda or other State Senate business call 1-800-382-9467 or visit .


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