(INDIANAPOLIS) — The Indiana Chamber of Commerce reacts to the details of House Bill 1001 on transportation funding, as well as the Superintendent of Public Instruction’s call to overhaul ISTEP:
House Bill 1001
Cam Carter, the Indiana Chamber’s vice president of economic development and federal relations:
“Strategic thinking is needed to address Indiana’s nearly $1 billion annual transportation funding shortfall. Hoosiers need a long-term plan that looks to the future rather than just another stop-gap proposal. The Indiana Chamber believes House Bill 1001 is the plan that best meets both immediate and future needs for everything from interstate highways to local roads and bridges.
“The Indiana Chamber particularly supports dedicating more of the seven-cent sales tax on motor fuels to transportation infrastructure instead of just the single penny that is dedicated today. Most Hoosiers already think this is occurring. This policy change, however, does create a sizeable hole in the general fund; we view HB 1001’s suggested increase in cigarette taxes as one viable option to filling that hole.
“We also concur on the need to examine tolling and other user-fee based funding. A key principle in this debate should be: If you drive on the roads, you pay for the roads. So, every vehicle that uses the roads – including electric and alternative fuel vehicles – should pay their fair share. They don’t today. That would change under HB 1001.
“We appreciate the leadership and work that went into crafting HB 1001 and look forward to working with the authors as this important bill makes its way through the legislative process.”
Caryl Auslander, the Indiana Chamber’s vice president of education and workforce development policy:
“We are in favor of the Governor or Legislature creating a panel to discuss testing issues – specifically about various breakdowns in the process – and are encouraging that effort. Many of the ISTEP issues can be traced to past vendor-Department of Education (DOE) relations; those need to improve and DOE needs to take a more aggressive role in ensuring deadlines and expectations are met.
“We have a brand new assessment exam to go along with our new, more rigorous academic standards. There is no need to spend more of the state’s money to change the assessment. The length of this test or any test is something DOE can and should address with the new test vendor.
“The new test was labeled ISTEP out of a sense of continuity. Let’s rebrand the test to reflect that it is indeed new and simply work to ensure future tests are executed properly and timely. That’s all that needs to happen. We don’t need to get rid of our new test; that move is completely unnecessary.”
The Indiana Chamber partners with 25,000 members and investors – representing over four million Hoosiers – to achieve the mission of “cultivating a world-class environment which provides economic opportunity and prosperity.”