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Two key bills one step closer to approval

January 10, 2010

The Indiana House of Representatives took a crucial vote on constitutional property tax caps, voting not to add any amendments to the plan that seeks to cap property tax bills at one percent for homeowners, two percent for rental properties and three percent for businesses. House Minority Leader Republican Brian Bosma of Indianapolis called the vote the moment of truth for the issue.

“Without the amendment, any of the amendments being adopted today, I think this guarantees that the constitutional amendment will be adopted by the House and the Senate very quickly. It’s my hope that it’s law by January 21st.”

That law would allow for a public referendum to vote on the caps in November. Much less pleased was Democrat Earl Harris of East Chicago. Referring to the different cap percentages in the proposal, and the lost revenue used to pay for local services, he called the move toward changing the constitution a mistake.

“A lot of people are going to suffer, all over the state of Indiana, because they don’t have a plan for the magic 1, 2, 3.”

Representatives also moved forward a bill from House Speaker Democrat Pat Bauer of South Bend that puts new limits on lobbying. That bill lowers the reporting amount on lobbyist gifts to lawmakers and requires legislators to wait one year after leaving office to become lobbyists. Critics say the bill doesn’t go far enough, and should include new restrictions for university lobbying. But Bauer says the vote for approval with no changes, is the right step forward.

“It had the balance we needed. It corrected the key areas that are most talked about. And that’s the way you have to do things if you want to get it done.”

There are still several votes that have to take place, and several opportunities for changes to those bill before they can be finalized and become law. Both bills will be considered in the House again Monday. For Indiana Public Broadcasting, I’m Marianne Holland, at the statehouse.

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