It looks like the General Assembly is bent on undoing one of its most useful accomplishments of the 2009 session: its attempt to fix the broken and bankrupt unemployment insurance fund. In 2009, they passed HB 1379 which was signed into law.
Now, via an amendment to SB 23 (h/t Jim Shella). The House approved the amendment by a vote of 95-5. The five voting “no” were Avery, Day, Tincher, Tyler, and Candelaria Reardon.
The Republican proposal in the Senate was to delay implementation of the 2009 compromise by a year. The nearly unanimous House proposal is to undo implementation entirely. I guess both House and Senate are counting on the federal government continuing to loan us money to pay unemployment benefits. Anyone who voted to undo the 2009 compromise-fix who pisses and moans about D.C. on the campaign trail should be questioned closely on this issue.
Update Niki Kelly, writing for the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette, has more.
Mike Kole says
95-5? I guess it’s bi-partisan, then. Rah-rah, compromise! Huzzah!
It was really tempting to start banging my head against my desk when I read this…Not only is the tax increase going away completely, apparently it also looks like they’re increasing unemployment benefits in various ways as well??? Which, I’m not necessarily opposed to, unless, of course, those increases aren’t actually paid for at all. WTF?
I suspect it’s all politics (shocking!). The Senate, in no small part due to the urging of the Chamber of Commerce, I believe; decided to delay the increase for a year. The House Democrats probably didn’t believe this was a particularly responsible idea but also didn’t want to keep getting smacked around for being anti-business tax raisers in a time of recession. So, they double down by proposing a repeal of the bipartisan solution from 2009. (“Raise taxes? Hell no! We wanted to get rid of it, not just delay it!”) The House Republicans went along with that because they were posturing against the fix from the get-go (never mind that Senate Republicans signed on to it.)
Now, it goes into conference committee and, I suppose the thinking goes, the House Democrats have improved their bargaining position.
The problem is that it’s a game of chicken. Or maybe a prisoner’s dilemma. If one side acts responsibly and the other does not. The side that’s acting irresponsibly gets the most benefit. Having the unemployment insurance problem fixed *and* being able to claim you were four-square against raising taxes would be politically advantageous.
The debate in the House got down right mean on this today. One old fashion argument against no raise in unemployment tax was that the Indiana has long bragged (including code provisions) that Indiana does not allow debt, but is now in debt to Feds over a billion dollars and likely be 3 billion or more before even starting to “catch up” on unemployment fund. Interesting the no debt idea when considering the various pension plans (and then changing them over to being local school and government obligations.) At any rate partisan politics was alive and well today.