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Indiana Chamber provides assessment

Posted: Thursday, June 30, 2011

InsideINdianaBusiness.com Report

The Indiana Chamber of Commerce has released its annual Legislative Vote Analysis. The Chamber lists unemployment insurance reform, the corporate income tax cut and education reform as key wins for the business community.

July 1 marks the day the majority of the state’s new laws go into effect. Citizens can determine which legislators deserve the credit (or the blame) for many of those policies in a new report from the Indiana Chamber of Commerce. The organization released its annual Legislative Vote Analysis on Thursday, June 30, a report detailing the pro-economy, pro-jobs voting records for state lawmakers during the 2011 session.

“Many positive policies were passed to aid working Hoosiers and their families this year. This report lets constituents know if their legislators helped to make this happen or if they tried to block the progress,” offers Indiana Chamber President Kevin Brinegar.

All scores and the full report are available at the Indiana Chamber’s web site at www.indianachamber.com/lva

"With the multitudes of bills and amendment votes that are included in the Legislative Vote Analysis, it affords legislators plenty of opportunity to demonstrate whether they are with or against Indiana businesses and their employees in their efforts to grow Hoosier jobs,” Brinegar adds.

Among the most important pieces of legislation considered: vital tax reductions to stimulate economic growth and education reforms that increase student potential for academic achievement and eventual workplace success.

Specifically, that includes:

unemployment insurance (UI) reform that will save companies $200 million a year in UI taxes for each of the next 10 years;

a corporate income tax rate reduction that has an estimated $80 million in annual savings and the potential to help attract many new businesses to the state; and
school scholarships that will allow parents to redirect a portion of state dollars assigned to their children’s education to the school that best fits their children’s needs.

Overall, legislator scores are higher than in recent years. Among Democrats, the trend continued of higher scores among senators than representatives.

“The results are a reflection of Indiana Business for Responsive Government (IBRG, the Chamber’s political action committee) and its allies having a successful election and more pro-jobs, pro-economy individuals serving overall and in the leadership of both houses,” Brinegar explains.

For 27 years, the Chamber has measured the voting performance of all 150 legislators on bills that reflect the organization’s public policy positions. In 2011, the number of votes included jumped to 198, as compared to less than 80 vote totals in each of the past two years.

Jeff Brantley, Chamber vice president for political affairs, was not surprised by the increase in bills that made their way through the legislative maze and into the final vote evaluation.

“I think there was a lot of pent-up demand, positive issues that had been unable to move in previous years,” he says. “The 2010 election, for the candidates that won, was largely about job creation, improving education and Indiana’s competitiveness with other states. The outcome of the session and the Legislative Vote Analysis reflect one of the biggest lists of pro-jobs, pro-growth accomplishments we’ve seen in quite some time.”

Bills used in the report were selected based on their significant impact to the state’s economic climate and workforce. Lawmakers are kept apprised of the Chamber position and reasoning on these bills through various communications during the legislative session – and prior to key votes being taken. Only floor votes for which there is a public record are used in the Legislative Vote Analysis.

Legislators who score 70% or greater for the most recent two-year voting period are eligible for endorsement by the Chamber’s IBRG political action committee.

Copies of the Legislative Vote Analysis report are sent to all legislators and Indiana Chamber board members, and made available online for all businesspersons, community leaders and citizens.

The Indiana Chamber of Commerce has been the state’s largest broad-based business advocacy and information organization for over 85 years. The nearly 5,000 member companies employ 800,000 Hoosier workers.

Source: Indiana Chamber of Commerce