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Government News

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J. Stephen Conn

The city of Crawfordsville completed its final budget workshop Monday night, and despite a 10-percent health insurance premium increase, the mayor says it could have been much worse.

During the meeting, Crawfordsville mayor Todd Barton said at the county level, premiums are going up 20-percent. The city’s employees are also receiving a two-percent salary increase.

The majority of the city’s departments have little to no significant change in their budget for next year, which Barton says is due to planning.

State To Launch Savings Program For Disabled Hoosiers

Jul 25, 2017

The federal government passed The ABLE Act four years ago – ABLE stands for “achieving a better life experience.”

The bill allows states to offer a program in which somone with a disability, or the parent of a disabled child, can create a savings account with special tax advantages.

In 2016 Indiana lawmakers voted to enable the program, and the result is called InvestABLE.

It launches July 27.

Repeal or replace? Senators returning to Washington have been told they will have a vote this week – but not what they will vote on.

Republican U.S. Sen. Todd Young was in Whitestown for a ribbon cutting at the new AmerisourceBergen pharmaceutical distribution center Monday. He says he will vote yes to open debate on health care.

“My hope is that we can move forward into debate and it’s unclear what substantive vehicle we’re going to be voting on,” Young says. “What exactly the bill is going to look like.”

Indiana’s top agriculture official has been tapped to oversee global farm trade for the Trump administration.

Indiana Department of Agriculture director Ted McKinney now faces a Senate confirmation to become the USDA’s first-ever trade undersecretary.

He says he’s grateful for the support he’s received since getting the news.

“I am so honored to be nominated by the president, and I look forward to serving if confirmed,” McKinney says.

Indiana closed its fiscal year – which ended on June 30th – with a budget surplus of $42 million.

The state also closed with a reserve of $1.77 billion. That’s about $400 million less than the year before.

Office of Management and Budget Director Micah Vincent says the decline was caused by the state’s new long-term road funding plan.

City of Crawfordsville / Parks & Recreation

The city of Crawfordsville has begun workshopping its 2018 budget, and Mayor Todd Barton says employee retention is a priority.

The city will offer a 2-percent salary increase for municipal employees.

And Barton says departments such as Parks and Recreation are getting more money to improve the city’s quality of life.

“We’re going back and we’ve really assessed where we are with that tax levy and we’re comfortable in making some increases,” he says. “I’ve directed the parks department to step it up a notch. We need good, quality parks for our citizens.”

kdemerly / https://www.flickr.com/photos/kdemerly/

The Tippecanoe County Commissioners are one vote away from changing their policy on how the county courthouse may be used for displays and demonstrations.

The previous policy, which allowed the commissioners to approve or deny permits as they saw fit, was struck down by a federal court earlier this year.

The new policy is, in the words of county attorney Doug Masson, “viewpoint neutral,” though it retains restrictions on when a display may occur – mostly to avoid disturbing legal proceedings in the courthouse.

Rally attendee Greg Bowes shows off House District 99, which he says is his favorite illustration of gerrymandering in the state. (Photo by Drew Daudelin)

A bill that changes how the state draws its districts was quickly killed at the Statehouse this year. A few dozen people rallied at the Statehouse Monday to call again for redistricting reform. 

Senate GOP Leader David Long (R-Fort Wayne) didn’t wait long to anoint a new chair for the Senate Appropriations Committee.

Long named Sen. Ryan Mishler (R-Bremen) to replace retiring lawmaker Luke Kenley as the Senate’s budget architect. Mishler has served for five years as the No. 2 senator on the Appropriations Committee.

Governor Eric Holcomb indicated Tuesday he’ll publicly share information on the impact to the state of federal health care reform legislation. Though he says he’ll only do that when a vote in the U.S. Senate appears imminent.

Holcomb has previously evaded any commitment to releasing internal analysis of the impact federal health care legislation will have on Indiana.

The governor’s reasoning for not releasing those estimates remains the same.

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