State Senator Ed Charbonneau appeared in Winamac on Wednesday afternoon to review a few accomplishments from the 2016 legislative session.
Meeting with community members at One-Eyed Jack’s restaurant, Charbonneau addressed residents about Indiana’s road funding plan. The legislation – which received approval near the end of the session – aims to provide about $800-million in road funding for state and local roadways.
Charbonneau says this year’s road funding bill gives Indiana some time to think about a long-term solution. A solution, he says, that may not involve an increase in cigarette taxes.
“If you think about it, that’s not a long-term solution,” says Charbonneau. “Because we’re increasing the cigarette tax in hopes of people stopping smoking. If our ultimate goal is achieved, the revenue that we’re going to reap from cigarette taxes is going to go down.”
In addition to the temporary funding steps being taken, the General Assembly has developed a task force to investigate long-term road funding solutions.
Charbonneau also took time to address several other hot-button issues, including: Regional Cities funding, the ISTEP exam, and the process for mitigating drug use in the Hoosier State.
Education was a popular topic for those in attendance. Despite the legislature’s action to effectively kill the standardized test, Charbonneau called the ISTEP issue a “disaster.”
“I think it was a pretty classic example of how quickly things can get done when everybody really understands that something has got to be done fast,” says Charbonneau.
There are efforts being made at this time to figure out a possible replacement for the statewide assessment.
Charbonneau concluded by reminding those in attendance that part of his job is to find balance between competing interests.