It’s About Time; Now Get the Job Done

In a tribute to Abraham Lincoln — that Gettysburg Address, after all, was just over two minutes long — we’re going to be short and to the point on the end of the Statehouse walkout.

Who won? Don’t care. Although both sides will claim victories and the media will undoubtedly overanalyze the question.

Was it the right move by the House Democrats? We care a little more about this one than the previous question, but not much. At least not right now, although a move to prevent future such actions would be something good to look at.

What do we care about? Legislators going back to work, putting aside their differences and doing the job they were elected to do. There are too many important issues at stake. Sure, that starts with education policies that focus on the students in the schools, not the adults in the system. But it also includes plenty of jobs and economic growth legislation (part of the Chamber agenda to benefit all Hoosiers) that was caught in the crossfire and still may ultimately fall victim to a lack of time.

Lawmakers lost five weeks in which little was accomplished. They have less than five weeks remaining to reverse course and get the job done to the highest level of their abilities. That’s what truly matters. Let the work begin again.

No Direct Comparison Intended; Just a Clever Lead

Yesterday’s blog post about two local government reform bills being defeated in the Senate was intended (like all communication efforts) to draw attention. After all, comprehensive reform — particularly at the township level — has been a top priority of the Chamber (and the governor) over the last four years.

The attention goal was achieved, at least in part, as there was an interpretation by some (including at least one state senator) that the analogy in the lead was directly comparing the defeat of these two bills to the magnitude of the House Democrat walkout. That was not the intention at all. The reference to the House dispute (one could be justified using much stronger terms) was simply to show that 99% of the media and public attention was focused on the House and that the actions of the Senate (both those we agreed with and did not support) were occurring "under the radar screen."

That’s the great thing about interpretations — everyone has their own. Now, you know mine in authoring this post.

Dems’ Health Care Preposal Draws Fire from U.S. Chamber

Pres. Obama and House Democrats have constructed a health care plan with the intent to cover 97% of Americans by 2019. Obama asserts the plan would "begin the process of fixing what’s broken in the system." The U.S. Chamber of Commerce — to whom we have no affiliation but do share many of the same goals — claims the proposal would hit business owners at the worst possible time.

House Democrats plan to fund the broadest U.S. health-care expansion in four decades by increasing taxes on the wealthiest Americans, imposing a surtax of 5.4 percent on couples with more than $1 million in income.

The legislation unveiled yesterday would place additional taxes on households with more than $350,000 a year in income and calls for further increases if the measure doesn’t hit a target for cost savings. The provisions are intended to raise $544 billion over 10 years…

The plan drew fire from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the nation’s biggest business lobby.

“The intention of this plan is to tax high-income households, but the real victims would be America’s small business owners,” the Washington-based group’s president, Thomas Donohue, said in a statement. “Since when does our great free-market country punish success?”

The legislation would raise taxes on larger corporations as well. Among other things, it would make it easier for the Internal Revenue Service to prosecute tax shelters, and deny certain cross-border deductions that some companies are able to claim through tax treaties.

The House is also proposing a mandate on Americans above a certain income level: People would be penalized as much as 2.5 percent of their income for failure to buy health insurance. Most employers would be required to insure their employees or pay a penalty equal to as much as 8 percent of their payroll.

And wouldn’t you know it, health care is the topic of this month’s Policy Issue Conference Call — a free benefit for Indiana Chamber members. The call is this Friday (July 17) at 9:30 a.m. and members are welcome. Just register here.

UPDATE: House Republicans have also released their interpretation of a bureaucratic nightmare that would ensue under the proposed health care plan. View that here. (Hat tip to Chamber intern Daniel Latini.)