News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Letters

May 12, 2013

FLASHPOINT: Again in 2013 General Assembly, middle class generally ignored

TERRE HAUTE — Last year, the people of Indiana entrusted the Republican Party with some of their most precious possessions.

They have a new, polished Republican governor. They have two powerful Republican “super-majorities” in the House and the Senate. The Republicans hold every state office except for school superintendent, and its current steward, Glenda Ritz, works hard to keep politics out of education.

What the people wanted in return was simple: Pay attention to hardworking taxpayers. Alleviate their fears of slipping out of the middle class. Spur opportunities for people trying to get into the middle class. Set a clear direction for our kids’ future.

Instead, during the 2013 legislative session, the people were told that what they have is good enough.

That probably is not what folks had in mind.

When the Legislature convened in January, Democrats gave some heartfelt advice to our freshly triumphant friends across the aisle. Put the middle class first.

They heard us. But they didn’t listen.

Let us always remember that the middle class is Indiana’s economic engine. They buy the consumer goods and spend at local businesses. They create profits for their employers. They pay most of the income and sales taxes.

But they are struggling.

Indiana’s unemployment rate stubbornly hovers right below 9 percent. Hundreds of thousands of working taxpayers have only the emergency room as their primary health care option. Median household income trails the rest of the nation.

The Legislature’s response, unfortunately, was to tackle these problems by ignoring them.

Legislative leaders punted on the biggest issue of our generation, which is the expansion of health care under the Affordable Care Act.

Remember that we already pay taxes to Washington for the ACA. We now risk that our taxes will support health care in Michigan and Illinois, while our citizens flood into chaotically expensive ERs.

Middle-class taxpayers and premium payers cannot afford that anymore.

And neither can the 30,000 taxpaying workers who would fill the jobs that depend on health care expansion.

Nor can the 400,000 uninsured Hoosiers who would be lifted out of the ranks of the uninsured and into the middle class.

Even the one Republican idea for helping middle-class consumers — Gov. Mike Pence’s income tax cut — was turned into a lose-lose situation by Republican hand-wringing and pointless compromises. The state will now lose millions in revenue that could train middle-class workers. In return, the typical taxpayer will get an extra buck a week to spend — starting two years from now.

It’s tax cut hell: Less revenue with no economic benefit in return.

Instead, the super-majorities fell back on what often makes them happy, which is getting money in the hands of folks who may or may not help the rest of us. Utilities, insurance companies, banks, race car drivers and corporations were all lavished with their expected favors.

Some of those things are fine, I suppose. Businesses have to be successful. But when you add them up, most of the breaks are going to those who need them the least. Crowing about the largest tax cut in history doesn’t count for much when it only means a couple of extra bucks a week for too many Hoosiers. It’s not that great a deal for them.

Unfortunately, those with all the power have forgotten that these favors don’t work unless our vast middle class is confident, secure and thinking about spending a little more.

This year, the Republican powers in Indiana did not try and ended up failing spectacularly for the middle class. They were given everything, and decided to rest easy.

As a result, a precious opportunity was squandered.

Rep. Scott Pelath, a Democrat, is the Indiana House of Representatives Minority Leader. He is from Michigan City.

 

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Letters
Latest News
TribStar.com Poll
AP Video
Texas Shooting Suspect Collapses in Court LeBron James Says He's Returning to Cavaliers Police: Prostitute Linked to 2nd Death Raw: Israel, Gaza Exchange Rocket Fire Death Toll Tops 100 As Israel Offense Continues Chimp-attack Victim Lobbies Congress Man Flees Police in World Cup Scalping Scheme Raw: Rebel Leader Weds in Eastern Ukraine More Immigrants Detained Along Rio Grande Robot Writes Jewish Torah Scroll Joy Fills Streets of Cleveland As LeBron Returns Soft Robot Fish Lead New Wave of Robotics Downside of Low Mortgage Rates? Less Selling FIFA Rejects Suarez Appeal Against Biting Ban Obama Responds to Hecklers on Immigration Art of Haitian Machete Fighting Revived Thousands Attend NYC Firefighter's Funeral World Cup Final Pits Argentina Against Germany Raw: Australia Hosts Annual Beer Can Regatta WH: LeBron's Move a 'Powerful Statement'
NDN Video
Cleveland welcomes home LeBron Houston Killer Collapses in Court When Read Capital Murder Charges for Allegedly Killing Family of Six Worst Valet Ever Wrecks $500K Lamborghini Glee Star Becca Tobin's Boyfriend Matt Bendik Found Dead in Hotel Aerial fish restocking in Utah ScarJo Channels Marilyn Monroe Obama Responds to Hecklers on Immigration Tiny Hamsters Who Ate Burritos are Back for a Tiny Hedgehog's Party Watch Kelly Ripa Get Soaked! 'Referee' Hands Out Yellow Cards for Social Faux Pas in NYC 2014 Emmy Nominees: 8 Snub Shockers Emma Watson Is Va-Va-Voom in Valentino 7 Infamous Sports Blowouts Argentina tops Holland in World Cup semifinals News flush: Japanese toilet exhibition making a splash Emmy Nominations: What to Watch For 'Game of Thrones' Leads 66th Emmy Awards Nominations Photographic 'Proof' That LeBron Is Leaving Miami - @TheBuzzeronFOX Elephant Pool Party at The Oregon Zoo Must-See! Berry and Fallon Form Human Hamster Wheel
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.
  • -

     

    March 12, 2010

activity