INDIANAPOLIS -- Members of the Indiana House today gave their nod of approval to State Rep. Nancy Michael (D-Greencastle) on a measure that would create a program to stimulate economic growth in Indiana communities that have been shedding jobs at a rapid rate.
House Bill 1434, which passed the House with a vote of 98-0, would create a New Business Recruitment Grant Program to help counties with an unemployment rate of more than eight percent to attract new businesses and promote job growth.
The Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC) would administer the program, and would partner with its local counterparts to develop new ways to stimulate growth in suffering areas.
As of December 2008, 52 counties have an unemployment rate that exceeds eight percent.
"Communities all across Indiana are seeing factories close up, plants forced into mass layoffs and small businesses that can no longer handle receding revenue," Michael said. "The bill would assist local economic development organizations serving high unemployment areas during tough times.
"The state cannot stand aside and allow these conditions continue to deteriorate. We have the responsibility to act, and should take every opportunity to do so," she continued.
To implement business recruitment programs, local economic development organizations could apply for grants from the IEDC. Grants would amount up to $50,000 for organizations that serve one county, $75,000 for organizations that serve two.
The program would be funded through federal stimulus dollars or other state appropriations.
In other action, the House passed another bill authored by Michael that requires the Department of Local Government Finance (DLGF) to develop an action plan on how to restore the timeliness of local property tax assessments, budget approvals and the establishment of the tax rate.
Michael said that late property taxes collections have plagued Indiana's cities, town and counties, and that the Legislature needs to take action to correct this egregious problem.
Both bills now proceed to the Senate for further action.