Months after November’s election returns provided Indiana Republicans with a legislative supermajority, the 2013 legislative session is set to begin Monday.
Rep. Tim Brown (R-Crawfordsville), the GOP’s new chair of the House Ways and Means Committee, said his goals are relatively modest.
“It’s really pretty simple,” Brown said. “Get out on time and have a balanced budget.”
Brown told Fox 59 News that Republican leadership is focused far more on job creation and economic issues than any potential battles over social issues. With a budget forecast that includes increased state revenue, he said the time may soon come to restore state services that were cut in recent years.
“We as Republicans have talked about strategic restorations,” he said. “Those areas that have been hit by the recession; what areas do we need to restore to bring services back to where they need to be?”
A tax increase is also on the table, he said, but not in the short term. Brown said the GOP needs to have a long-term conversation about the eventual costs of the Affordable Care Act and would need to at least talk about a tax increase in order to pay for those costs.
Meanwhile, Rep. Justin Moed (D-Indianapolis) echoed Brown’s call to focus on economic issues.
“The first priority is going to be getting people back to work,” Moed said.
Bringing back manufacturing jobs, supporting small businesses and creating green energy opportunities are all part of the Democrats’ plans, he said.
Both Moed and Brown called for a level of bipartisanship not seen lately on the federal level.
“We won’t agree on everything,” Brown said. “But at the end of the day, I guess, when we disagree we’re still able to shake hands and talk about the next issue that comes up to solve problems for the state of Indiana.”