Updated: Wednesday, 24 Feb 2010, 5:32 PM EST
Published : Wednesday, 24 Feb 2010, 5:31 PM EST
INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) - State lawmakers took action Wednesday afternoon to create more jobs.
The Indiana House passed a pair of bills aimed at putting people back to work. One repeals increases in unemployment insurance premiums, the other has incentives for employers who hire new workers.
The vote was unanimous for the so-called "jobs bill" that gives tax credits to employers and hiring preferences to unemployed workers.
"The bill, in its current form, is estimated to create between (10,000) and 30,000 new jobs in Indiana," said its author, Rep. Dale Grubb (D-Covington).
Just as many jobs would be created by repealing a bailout of the state's bankrupt unemployment insurance system, sponsors say. The higher premiums on many employers, passed just last year, are viewed as a job killer.
"Increasing taxes at the time of a recession is like dumping gasoline on a fire," said Rep. Randy Borror (R-Fort Wayne).
The vote for the repeal was 82-to-17. But opponents warned of a debt to the federal government, now pegged at almost $1.7 billion.
Said Rep. Dennis Avery (D-Evansville), "We can't pay our bills, yet we're going to repeal the fees that allow us to make a lot of those payments toward our responsibilities."
Rep. Vern Tincher (D-Terre Haute) said, "By eliminating this increase that means, for calendar year 2010, we're gonna have to borrow another $1.5 billion."
But those comments come from two retiring legislators. Those who hope to return after the November election know that jobs may be the biggest issue in the campaign.
State Senate leaders seek to delay but not repeal the bailout of the unemployment system. They must now work out differences with House leadership when the bill goes to a conference committee.
Either way, it appears employers are off the hook for at least a year.
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