Bauer Sends Dobis Packing From Leadership Role

House Speaker Pat Bauer and former Speaker Pro Tempore Chet Dobis have served together as Indiana legislators since 1970. That’s a lot of collaboration, and undoubtedly a little conflict, over 40 years.

Conflict is center stage now as Dobis has been removed from his second in command leadership position. The reason: he didn’t support his Democrat colleagues on a committee report that would have likely killed the Illiana Expressway, a project heavily supported in Dobis’ Northwest Indiana district.

Frugal Hoosiers has the latest, with an assist from the Northwest Indiana Times. The impact on the remainder of the legislative session, and beyond, remains to be seen.

Unemployment Trust Fund Proposal Not Good for Business

George Raymond, the Indiana Chamber’s VP of Human Resources & Labor Relations, lays it out pretty succinctly in this Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette article:

A House Democrat unveiled a proposal for fixing Indiana’s unemployment insurance system Monday that would triple taxes on employers to fund unemployment claims.

“The type of tax increase this bill calls for is going to cause additional terminations of employment,” said George Raymond, lobbyist for the Indiana Chamber of Commerce. “That’s a tremendous burden.”

Indiana’s unemployment trust fund has had a structural imbalance since 2001 and ran out of money last year – forcing the state to borrow at least $725 million from the federal government to pay unemployment.

The Democratic-controlled House failed to pass a bill addressing the issue during the first half of the session. Then, the Republican-led Senate passed a plan that raised about $870 million in new annual revenue for the fund through both direct tax increases as well as benefit and eligibility changes.

The Senate version would permanently increase business taxes $328 million annually starting in 2010.

House Bill 1379 is now in conference committee, where conferees from all four legislative caucuses are trying to negotiate a compromise.

Rep. David Niezgodski, D-South Bend, presented a proposed conference committee report Monday that included more than $1 billion in new taxes on employers.

Frugal Hoosiers has more on the matter.