TERRE HAUTE —
U.S. Sen. Dan Coats presented a 10-point plan, which he entitled “The Indiana Way,” as his 2014 roadmap for work in the Senate during a stop Thursday at Terre Haute City Hall.
The plan “is designed specifically for the purpose of bringing Indiana ideas to Washington and one that will enhance and strengthen our communities,” Coats said.
The top priority Coats said, is to find ways “to protect Hoosiers from the burdens of Obamacare.” Coats said he has authored legislation to delay mandates for individuals and families as was done for businesses “as we press on for hopefully a much better solution.”
Coats said he favors a repeal of the Medical Device Tax included in the Affordable Health Care for America Act. Coats said 79 U.S. senators have supported a repeal of that tax.
He also advocates “to support Indiana infrastructure,” and “grow Hoosier manufacturing jobs.”
He supports measures “to unlock affordable energy,” saying more than 85 percent of Indiana’s electricity is from coal-fired power plants. “Unfortunately, the president’s ‘war on coal’ and other regulatory restrictions on energy production inhibit our ability to utilize these affordable energy resources,” he said.
Indiana, Coats said, has “some of the lowest utility rates in the country” because of its ability to use the state’s abundant resource of coal.
Vigo County farmer Phil Carter questioned Coats on a federal farm bill. Coats said a new farm bill is expected to enacted by the end of the month.
Carter said he hopes a new federal farm bill maintains a safety net for farmers. “I am concerned about the safety net of future farmers and what can be done that we don’t lose the viability of agriculture in Indiana,” Carter told Coats.
“Two years ago corn was $8 per bushel, now it is $4,” Carter said. “Prices are projected to go even lower this year. I am not sure what is in the farm bill,” he said after Coats’ presentation.
“The past several years we have gone through a drought situation and luckily we have had crop insurance. I want to make sure the crop insurance is strengthened,” Carter said. He alsol wants a price support to help farmers maintain operations.
Coats said a measure “to repeal the death tax” would directly impact farmers by eliminating that tax burden. Coats also seeks to “eliminate government waste, protect the freedom of religion and support community banks and small business.”
Coats said he is an author and co-sponsor of legislation for tax reform. “It has been 26 years since we have had tax reform. It needs to be simpler and fairer,” he said.
He also advocates “protecting the homeland” of the nation. He said Indiana has several facilities, such as Crane Naval Surface Warfare Center, that are important part of the nation’s defense and are a big contributor to Indiana’s economy.
Reporter Howard Greninger can be reached at 812-231-4204 or howard.