Capitol Connection: Annual property tax appeals could be thing of past


Staff report

Bill would add permanence to property tax appeals



A bill authored by State Sen. Scott Schneider, R-Indianapolis who also represents Carmel,  to help Hoosier property taxpayers frustrated by the appeals process cleared its final passage in the Indiana General Assembly.

Senate Bill 266 now moves to Gov. Mike Pence’s desk where it could be signed into law.

The bill would eliminate the need for property owners to repeatedly file property tax appeals every year by ensuring that revised assessments, as determined by a successful appeal, would be the basis for future assessments.

“Currently, when a taxpayer prevails in an assessment appeal, the modified assessment applies only to the tax year or years that were appealed,” Schneider said. “Each tax year stands on its own. This policy will put an end to taxpayers having to deal with appealing their property-tax assessments year after year.”

Rep. Braun brings major workforce development idea to reality



At the start of the 2014 session, House Speaker Brian Bosma, R-Indianapolis, joined by State Rep. Steve Braun, R-Zionsville who also represents west Carmel, and other House Republicans, unveiled the “Working on Progress” legislative agenda.

One of these bills, House Enrolled Act 1003, was authored by Braun to address the skills gap in Indiana and improve the quality of the state’s workforce. HEA 1003 was unanimously approved in the House on Thursday.

“The passage of this legislation is crucial for our state as it addresses both present and future workforce development needs,” said Rep. Braun. “It facilitates partnerships between the education community and private employers to train students with skills that will fill immediate job openings. It will also create a data capability which will allow us to identify the current and future job market skill needs and use that data to inform skills development in the education and workforce systems. This legislation will have a significant impact on bridging the skills gap now and in the future resulting in great economic benefit for Hoosiers.”

Specifically, this legislation will allow the Indiana Economic Development Corporation to utilize the Training 2000 Fund to allow grants to schools that choose to develop and implement partnerships with businesses.

Schools, in conjunction with private sector businesses, will offer internships and apprenticeships to train students with real-world skills.

The IEDC will work with the Indiana Works Councils to develop the application and eligibility requirements for these grants.

In addition, the IEDC will be able to award an Economic Development for a Growing Economy tax credit to businesses that hire students who have gone through this cooperative program between the business and college/university. The aggregate amount of EDGE tax credits awarded for this purpose is capped at $2.5 million annually for a total of four years.

This bill will introduce students to the advanced manufacturing field in a career-based atmosphere on a step-by-step basis. The intent of this bill is to allow students who are interested in this high performance and high demand profession to gain experience and even certification by the time they have graduated high school.

“We have focused over the past decade on creating the best business environment in the Midwest through policies that encourage and incentivize companies from all over the world to relocate and grow in Indiana,” said Speaker Bosma. “We must continue to focus on ensuring we have a workforce that will meet the needs of a globally dynamic marketplace.”

HEA 1003 will now head to the governor to be signed into law.

Gabriella Miller Kids First Research Act Heads to President’s Desk



The Gabriella Miller Kids First Research Act – legislation co-sponsored by U.S. Rep. Susan Brooks, R-Carmel, was passed by the Senate and is headed to the President’s desk for signature.

The bill, approved by the House in December, ends taxpayer funding of political conventions and directs $126 million toward potentially groundbreaking pediatric research.

“Today’s vote is the result of tireless advocacy from doctors, researchers, patients, parents and elected officials from both political parties who know that increased support for pediatric research will save lives,” Brooks said. “I am thankful for the leadership supplied by Majority Leader Cantor and Representative Harper in moving this effort forward and I applaud the Senate for passing this legislation today. I urge President Obama to sign the Gabriella Miller Kids First Research Act into law as quickly as possible.”

In July of 2013, Congresswoman Brooks brought Hoosier stakeholders together to call attention to the Gabriella Miller Kids First Research Act at the nationally recognized Riley Hospital for Children at Indiana University Health. She joined Riley President and CEO Dr. Jeff Sperring and families representing the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation to show support for the legislation.

“Funding for pediatric research is critical if we are to discover new treatments and cures for some of the most devastating diseases troubling our kids – autism, leukemia, diabetes, fragile X syndrome and more,” Dr. Sperring said. “The approval of the Kids First Research Act will ultimately improve the lives of children here in Indiana, and beyond. We applaud Representative Brooks for her leadership on this legislation.”

Specifically, the bill terminates funding from the Presidential Election Campaign Fund that is used to support party conventions. The funding will be directed to the National Institutes of Health Common Fund to support transformative research aiming to find better treatments for childhood cancer, autism, fragile X Syndrome and other pediatric diseases.

The bill is named after Gabriella Miller, a 10 year-old cancer patient and advocate for pediatric research who passed away on Oct. 26, 2013.