03/06/12 2012 is a leap year, and I have always had some questions about its origin. Why does February have one more day every four years? Couldn’t the calendar makers get it right many years ago? The truth seems to be that a year is really 365.25 days. It takes that long for our earth to make the circuit around the sun. So, the time-keepers decided that every four years we must add a day to “catch up” with the actual passage of time.
It must be a coincidence that the U.S. also chooses a new president and the observance of Sadie Hawkins day every leap year. We each get one extra day every four years. I hope we all try to make the most of it.
The House of Representatives is discussing the Department of Child Services (DCS) currently because of some criticism of its effectiveness. There are those who are dissatisfied with the performance of the agency. Examination of the facts will show that the agency has done very well to improve our state’s performance since DCS was given its own autonomy from the Family and Social Services Agency years ago. In 2005 DCS was split off from FSSA and the number of case workers was more than tripled from 500 to 1,600. The financial support was also increased by about $80 million. Since that time, the number of children lost to abuse and death has decreased from 57 deaths to 25 children lost in 2011. These tragic numbers are still much too high, but it should be obvious that progress is being made. I am sure that every legislator wants to improve our record of child security by changes that can be made. Our recognition of protecting the children must be a major priority. No one can argue with that.
House Bill 1199 is progressing through the Senate and it would phase out the Indiana inheritance tax over the next 10 years. Proponents of this bill state that a person’s assets have already been taxed multiple times in multiple ways. They maintain that a death tax (as it is called) is just one more assault on the taxpayer. The bill is progressing well through the session. I support the legislation and agree with the authors.
House Bill 1090, my bill to allow a county treasurer to negotiate a payment plan for delinquent taxes, has passed the Senate with amendments. My plan is to push the bill to passage so the counties have another tool to collect the taxes and distribute them to all the taxing units.
I ran across another quote from Abraham Lincoln that is so true. “You cannot help men permanently by doing for them what they could and should do for themselves.” Let us all take another lesson from President Lincoln and put his words into play in our own lives.