State Rep. Pat Bauer
Feb. 4, 2011
INDIANAPOLIS - Here is how unemployment insurance "reform" is currently
defined by those in control of the Indiana General Assembly:
If you have lost your job and are trying to support your family
while you're looking for work, your weekly unemployment benefits will be cut
by 25 percent.
If you own a small business, you will see the taxes you are
charged to help finance the state's Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund go up
If you run a large corporation, you'll get to wait before you
pay your share of the freight to pay for the fund, which owes more than $2
billion to the federal government. In some cases, you'll even see your taxes
These unemployment insurance "reforms" authored by the House
majority are contained in House Bill 1450, which passed out of the chamber
this week. They are expected to move quickly through the Indiana Senate, so
there is a good chance these changes will be law before too much longer.
I opposed House Bill 1450 because these "reforms" will be a
disaster for families with members who are out of work. The average weekly
benefit for workers will be cut from $283 to $212, a drop of about 25
That is the money these families rely upon to pay for food,
utilities, rent and other necessities while parents are trying to find jobs.
The cuts are described by advocates of "reform" as the sacrifice
that unemployed Hoosiers must make to solve the problems facing the benefit
system, but I believe the true impact will be forcing many of these folks to
turn to other government assistance programs for help at a time when the
funding for those programs also is being cut.
This "reform" also will hurt small businesses across Indiana,
which will see the taxes they pay for financing the benefit system go up in
the years to come. Compare their burden with that faced by the larger
businesses and corporations in our state, many of which actually will see
cuts in the unemployment taxes they pay.
But it is the people who are supposed to be helped by this
system that will be hurt the most. These folks are not freeloaders. They
lost their jobs through no fault of their own, and they are trying to find
work so they can take care of their families. Now they are told that they
will have to do more with less, while some employers won't have to make any
sacrifices at all. You tell me if that is right.
Let me make one final point. The best way to fix Indiana's
bankrupt unemployment system is to get Hoosiers back to work. We have been
in session for one month, and those in charge of the Legislature and the
governor's office have yet to make one new proposal to create jobs in
There has been action on other issues at the Statehouse. Here
are some measures the House has passed in recent days.
House Bill 1018 calls for a smoking ban in most public places
across Indiana. There are a number of exceptions to this ban: casinos,
racinos, riverboats, bars and taverns, and designated smoking areas in
nursing homes and private service clubs like the VFW, American Legion and
House Bill 1129 prohibits a person from sending an email or text
message while driving a motor vehicle. The penalty for violation would be a
fine of up to $500.
House Bill 1102 would ban the possession and sale of synthetic
marijuana, which is more commonly known by names like spice or K2. Many
counties across the state have acted to prohibit this substance, which has
caused adverse reactions like heart and breathing problems and been blamed
for contributing to some deaths.
If you want to talk to me about any of the issues being debated
in this session--or if your child would be interested in serving as a page
in the House and you would like to get more information about the
program--here are a few ways to stay in touch.
You can call the toll-free Statehouse telephone number of
1-800-382-9842, write to me in care of the Indiana House of Representatives,
200 W. Washington St., Indianapolis, IN 46204, or send a message to my email