INDIANAPOLIS— Monday marked the first day of session for Indiana lawmakers. House Democrats unveiled their agenda which focuses on economic freedom. Their priorities as as follows:
-Building power of Working People
- Raise the minimum wage to $15/hour
- Set up students for good-paying union jobs by fixing and clarifying last year’s HEA 1002
- Protect PLAs
- Make union dues tax-deductible
-Prevent workers from being over-taxed by banning employers from making employees classify themselves as individual companies, instead of employees (worker misclassification)
-Cutting Homeowners and Renters a Better Deal
- $250 property tax credit for all homeowners
- Over 65 homeowner deduction
- Increase renter’s deduction to $5,000
- Stop utilities from making customers bear the cost of doing business and keep utility bills for Hoosiers down
- Fair housing protections (fair appraisals and mortgages, property taxes, and cracking down on predatory investors hurting neighborhoods)
-Success Through Childcare and Early Learning
- Child and dependent care income tax credit
- Establish statewide pre-K program
- Increase before and after school care funding
-Protecting retirees and keeping Hoosiers insured
- Guarantee a 13th Check and COLA for PRF and TRF retirees
- Protect Medicaid and increase reimbursement rates for providers
Democrats haven't attached bill numbers to any of their policy ideas. House Democratic Leader Phil GiaQuinta says it's because of a rule in the house.
"Often time the only way house democrats can start a conversation about critical topics is through the amendment process," Rep. GiaQuinta (D) Fort Wayne said. "House rules prevent us from offering amendments that would accomplish the same as a bill that has already been filed this session. This is called the bill pending rule."
House democrats say 22 states have already raised their minimum wage and they feel it's time for Indiana to get on board. In Indiana the minimum wage is $7.25 which hasn't changed since 2009. They feel raising the minimum age will increase the quality of life for Hoosiers across the state.