Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Opinion

January 7, 2014

TOM LoBIANCO: 'Short sessions' quickly becoming political slogs

Marriage fight could crowd out other Statehouse issues.

Increasingly inside the Statehouse, “short session” is no longer a term to be confused with an inconsequen-tial gather-ing of the state’s lawmakers.

When lawmakers return for the start of 2014’s “short session” this week, they are set to take up two high-profile measures — one to write the state’s gay marriage ban into the constitution, and another that would eliminate the personal property tax paid by businesses.

Lawmakers began adding a second annual meeting to each two-year term — just like Congress — more than four decades ago as a means to deal with minor budget fixes that could not wait. But that budget-fixing mechanism has evolved in recent years into sessions in which elected leaders tackle some of the most high-profile and contentious measures.

The precursor to this year’s business tax cut proposal came during the short session of 2008, when lawmakers (and ultimately voters) placed property tax caps into the state constitution. The Indiana Chamber of Commerce, among others, has argued the cuts unfairly placed the burden of local property taxes on businesses and left homeowners largely unscathed.

Top Republican leaders, including Gov. Mike Pence and House Speaker Brian Bosma, want to eliminate the tax, along with lobbying powerhouses including the Chamber of Commerce and the Indiana Manufacturers Association.

Pence, in particular, is coming into the 2014 session with some big expectations. In addition to the personal property tax elimination, he has proposed expanding school vouchers for teachers and preschool-age children and increasing aid for charter schools.

Social and religious conservative groups, meanwhile, are seeking the marriage amendment. While Bosma and Senate President David Long have said they still support limiting marriage to being between one man and one woman, neither appears to be actively pushing the issue — at least not in public. The marriage fight has the potential to crowd out other issues depending on how much time lawmakers spend on the fight.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Opinion
  • LoBianco: Bigger ethics questions raised in House Turner review

    Members of the House Ethics Committee who will take up Rep. Eric Turner’s case face daunting tasks as they try to answer two questions: Did their powerful colleague violate any ethics rules in privately lobbying against a measure that would have hurt his family’s business?

    April 18, 2014

  • Letters to the Editor: April 18, 2014

    Attendees at the Tipton County Board of Commissioners meeting April 7 were treated to an appalling lack of both action and concern by the commissioners.

    April 18, 2014

  • Letter to the Editor: April 17, 2014

    On March 20 of this year I attended a public meeting of the Tipton County Economic Development Alliance. Members of this group include the three county commissioners, a member of the county council, two members from the city council, and the mayor.

    April 17, 2014

  • Hicks: Measuring the unmeasurable

    One aspect of economic research I think is especially powerful is the ability to measure or monetize the things that humans clearly value but for which a market price is not necessarily apparent. This is one of the aspects of economic analysis that gives it such dominance over other social sciences.

    April 17, 2014

  • Rob Burgess House of Burgess: Bush presents 'The Art of Leadership'

    On April 5, “The Art of Leadership: A President’s Personal Diplomacy,” opened at the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum on the campus of Southern Methodist University. The display, which runs through June 3, boasts “portraits of more than two dozen world leaders” painted by Bush, according to the official literature.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Bohanon: ‘Economics is fun’ in Vegas or in Bible study

    I am writing this on an airplane to Las Vegas. I’ll be attending the annual conference of the Association of Private Enterprise Education along with two of my colleagues and six of my students.

    April 16, 2014

  • Letters to the Editor: April 16, 2014

    At the time the agenda for the April 7 commissioner meeting came out, I was happy to see that the neglected commissioner board appointments were finally going to be addressed. These appointments had been in limbo for months on end.

    April 16, 2014

  • Hayden: Want better teacher ratings? Ask the kids

    The state may be back where it started, encumbered with a flawed teacher grading system, a year after implementing what were meant to be tough new standards.
    That was the general consensus of the State Board of Education days after teacher evaluation data were released last week.

    April 15, 2014

  • Letters to the Editor: April 15, 2014

    In a recent “public eye” article written by KT columnist Scott Smith about the proposed industrial wind turbine project; mention was made of the “new deal” brokered by Howard County Commissioners with E.ON.

    April 15, 2014

  • BRIAN HOWEY: Mike Pence for president in 2016? Stay tuned Mike Pence for president? The swirl of 2016 national ticket talk surrounding Gov. Pence intensified over the past few weeks. I sat down with the governor in his office on Tuesday to find out what he's really thinking. A few hours prior, the Weekly S

    April 14, 2014

Featured Ads
Only on our website
AP Video
Obama Hopeful on Ukraine, Will Watch Russians Flamingo Frenzy Ahead of Zoo Construction Crew Criticized Over Handling of Ferry Disaster Agreement Reached to Calm Ukraine Tensions Raw: Pope Francis Performs Pre-easter Ritual Raw: Bulgarian Monastery Dyes 5000 Easter Eggs Diplomats Reach Deal to Ease Tensions in Ukraine U.S. Sending Nonlethal Aid to Ukraine Military Holder: Americans Stand With KC Mourners Obama Greets Wounded Warriors Malaysia Plane: Ocean Floor Images 'Very Clear' Sparks Fly With Derulo and Jordin on New Album Franco Leads Star-studded Broadway Cast Raw: Two Lucky Kids Get Ride in Popemobile Boston Bombing Survivors One Year Later Sister of Slain MIT Officer Reflects on Bombing
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Obituaries
Poll