Guest Column by Rep Randy Frye

Returning tax dollars, investing in public safety

                                       

Every two years, state legislators come together to craft Indiana's biennial budget, which is the fiscal blueprint for funding our state government. This session, we've proposed a fiscally responsible state budget that responsibly cuts taxes, maintains critical services and boosts public safety.

First and foremost, Hoosiers deserve to keep more of their hard-earned money and the state is in an incredibly strong position to lower taxes. The proposed House Republican budget, House Bill 1001, would save Hoosier's nearly $625 million over the next two years. Under current law, the state's individual income tax rate would drop to 2.9% by 2029 due to recent cuts. We're proposing to speed that up to take effect in 2026, which could save taxpayers $470 million over the next years, and $1.6 billion between now and 2030. Other tax cuts include creating a military pay income-tax exemption, increasing income-tax deductions for homeowners and renters, additional tax deductions for new parents, and increasing the EITC.

To support public safety, and the men and women who put themselves in harm's way, I'm excited that our budget proposal includes increasing investments in quality training. Under House Bill 1001, Indiana would create a Regional Public Safety Training Fund to expand access to training facilities, both basic and advanced, for our firefighters, police officers and others. The state would also invest in new equipment to enhance the response capabilities for public safety agencies and EMS providers.

As a former firefighter, I know firsthand that practice makes perfect, and can mean the difference between life and death. These training opportunities are a vital to public safety officials' preparedness, and by investing in readiness facilities, our brave Hoosiers would be better prepared for work in the field. Having top-quality training facilities and instruction could also attract more Hoosiers to the public safety profession.

From college campuses and local schools to small towns and big cities, firefighters, police and EMS workers are always needed. The budget proposal also includes investments in scholarships to help students enrolled in postsecondary public safety courses and incentivize more young Hoosiers to enter these rewarding careers.

The budget includes many other investments and will likely change as it makes its way through the Indiana Senate. Thanks to Indiana's years of fiscal responsibility, we can return money to taxpayers and make important investments public safety. As we work to pass Indiana's next two-year budget, please reach out at 317-234-9139 or h67@iga.in.gov. Be sure to follow along at iga.in.gov to track bills and watch session and committee hearings live.

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