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AP
Indiana House Republicans pushing ahead on tax cut plan

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana House Republicans are forging ahead with their push for broad business and individual tax cuts even with ongoing skepticism from other GOP leaders in the Statehouse.

The Republican-dominated House is expected to vote next week on endorsing the proposal that would potentially cut more than $1 billion a year in various taxes and send it on to state Senate for action. The House Ways and Means Committee voted along party lines Wednesday to advance the plan after rejecting several changes Democrats argued would do more to help struggling families.

Republican leaders in the state Senate and GOP Gov. Eric Holcomb are hesitant to make large tax cuts now even after big jumps in state tax collections are projected to boost the state government budget surplus to a whopping $5.1 billion, or 29% of state spending, by the end of next June.

Ways and Means Committee Chairman Tim Brown of Crawfordsville said he was optimistic of winning Senate support for the tax cut plan.

“Just think, we have $5.1 billion in reserves, and that’s Hoosier money, that’s money paid by citizens,” Brown said.

Key parts of the House plan would cut Indiana’s current individual income tax rate of 3.23% over the next four years to 3.0%. That would ultimately reduce state tax collections by an estimated $500 million a year when fully implemented in 2026.

The plan also proposes cuts in several business taxes, potentially cutting those tax bills by between $700 million and $850 million a year.

Republicans turned aside proposals from Democrats to modify the bill with steps such as increasing the state’s tax deduction on rent from $3,000 to $5,000 a year, eliminate the sales tax on diapers and tampons and lower the current 18 cents-per-gallon gasoline tax to 15 cents.

“We’re looking at giving a billion dollars to corporations and we’re not doing anything for people who are the infrastructure of our state,” said Democratic Rep. Greg Porter of Indianapolis.

Democrats also sought to lower the state’s 7% sales tax rate, which is the second highest in the country, to 6.5%.

Brown said he supported such action but that other Republicans wanted to focus on lowering the individual income tax because nonresidents pay sales taxes.

“I had this debate with leadership all up and down this building and I lost,” Brown said.

Senate President Pro Tem Rodric Bray has been consistent in saying he believes action on tax cuts should wait until the 2023 session when lawmakers draft a new two-year state budget and will have more information about the economy’s direction after federal COVID-19 relief payments end.

“You’re trying to weigh all that revenue coming in and the opportunities that you might have to send that back to taxpayers and businesses against the idea that there are headwinds out there, least of which is inflation and supply chain challenges, workforce issues, things of that nature,” Bray said.

The House Republican plan would cut the property taxes charged on business equipment by nearly $400 million a year, according to legislative staff estimates. Utility company taxes would be cut an estimated $220 million annually, while broadening a sales tax exemption on business equipment purchases could cost between $85 million and $250 million a year.

Holcomb has proposed a reduction of property taxes on new business equipment purchases and shares the reluctance for major cuts now.

“I want to make sure that we have an accurate picture and that our fiscal radar is not artificially inflated,” Holcomb said.

Democratic Rep. Ed DeLaney of Indianapolis said he believed the tax cut caution was appropriate while chastising Republicans for not wanting to put more money toward needs such as pre-kindergarten programs and lowering college tuition.

“I don’t like the fact that we’re not investing now and the idea of preventing future legislatures from investing is really troublesome,” DeLaney said.


Sarah Young, Joselyn Uresti, Karla Alegria and Jaszmin Uresti paint individual projects Tuesday evening at Jasper Public Library.

Adult painting classes


Kelsie Andry paints a floral pattern during painting activities at Jasper Public Library Tuesday.

Canvas work


Business
Stallings, Caldemeyer JA Dubois County Business Hall of Fame Laureates
  • Updated

JASPER — Brenda Stallings and the late Emil Caldemeyer are laureates to be inducted into Junior Achievement Dubois County Business Hall of Fame at 7:30 a.m. EST Thursday, April 28, at The Huntingburg Event Center.

In Thursday’s announcement, Assistant VP and Campus Dean of Vincennes University Jasper Campus Christian Blome said “Brenda Stallings and Emil Caldemeyer are the kinds of role models we need for our young people, and for the area’s future business leaders.”

JA Dubois County Business Hall of Fame honors members of the Dubois business community who exhibit vision, innovation and leadership and who are visionaries within their respective industries. A crystal eagle symbolizing the spirit of free enterprise is presented to each laureate. A monument with a citation and image of each laureate will also be displayed at the Dubois County Museum.

BRENDA STALLINGS

Stallings, CEO of Matrix Integration, has 42 years of experience in the technology industry. Beginning her career as a typesetter and proofreader for Psychology Today and Marriage Magazine, she proceeded to own her own computer company, which later merged with a telecommunications company to form Matrix Integration. Three of her children are also active in the business along with her long-time business partner Dan Fritch.

She was named one of the most Powerful Women of the Channel as selected by Computer Reseller News for commitment to driving growth and innovation in the Technology industry. In her tenure, Matrix Integration has been recognized over the years in the top Best Places to Work in Indiana, listings on the 500 Value Added Resellers list which recognizes the largest solution providers in North America, the No.1 Indiana Top Woman Owned Business, a past Small Business of the Year honoree by the Indiana Chamber of Commerce, a past Indiana Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC) award winner, the past national Enterprising Women of the Year award as well as being honored by the Excel Bloomington award. The Athena Leadership Award for Dubois County and the Distinguished Citizen Award sponsored by the Buffalo Trace Council.

Brenda serves on the board in the non-profit she founded Education & Entrepreneurship in Dubois County, Memorial Hospital, Indiana State Chamber and several non-profit committees she serves on throughout the state of Indiana. She’s also active in the University of Louisville Family Business Center which networks with other family business owners helping them understand the nuances of working with family. She has been very in Junior Achievement from the early formation years in Dubois County, allowing the JA companies 5,000 square feet of free rental space to gather and produce products. In past years she was active in being a co-chair on the fundraising committee.

She’s a member of the National Association of Women Business Owners and Women’s Business Enterprise National Councils. She’s active in Women Empowering Women, which holds meetings to enrich the lives of local Dubois County women.

Her recent venture is a local application development project supporting communities, helping learn what’s in their communities which in turn will help business and industries grow and succeed.

Matrix Integration has regional offices in Fishers and Bloomington, as well as Louisville, Kentucky, with corporate headquarters in Jasper.

EMIL CALDEMEYER

E. F. Caldemeyer was born in Holland; but he opened his first business, a restaurant, in Vincennes in 1914.

He later returned to Holland and in 1917, married Emma Hunefeld; and together they ran the restaurant. Eloise Henke, their daughter, can remember when they milked their own cows, and her mother would pasteurize the milk in the kitchen and then bottle it on the kitchen table. She said that they would then sell the milk in the restaurant, as well as batches of ice cream that E.F. Caldemeyer experimented in trying to perfect his Holland Custard. He kept experimenting until he got the formula he wanted, and it is still the same secret recipe used today.

Business continued at the Caldemeyer’s Restaurant in much this same fashion until 1931. In the Great Depression, Caldemeyer gathered together a group of men from Holland and together they formed a company to manufacture ice cream. These men believed they could help surrounding dairy farmers as well as the town itself by expanding Caldemeyer’s ice cream operation into a company for manufacturing and distributing dairy products.

Caldemeyer started with $200 worth of ice cream equipment ($8 down and $8 a month) and a Model T Roadster which he converted into a pickup truck, and grossed $5,000 in his first year of business. The company continued to prosper and in 1947, sales hit the $1 million mark.

E.F. Caldemeyer was president of Holland Dairies until he passed away in 1956. Celebrating 50 years in business in 1981, Holland Dairies employed 287 persons in Indiana, Illinois and Kentucky and produced an average daily output of 40,000 gallons of milk a day, as well as over 200 different ice cream products, fruit drinks, orange juice, cottage cheese and much, much more.

Holland Dairies has been recognized for many innovations in the industry, including producing “freeze dried” cottage cheese which was stored dry and made cottage cheese when mixed with water. It was used in the Mercury and Gemini space programs and also the Apollo moon program. More than a million pounds of it were sent to American servicemen in Vietnam.

Holland Dairies was purchased by Prairie Farms in 1999, and today employs approximately 120 workers, and is supported as a farmer owned cooperative by approximately 80 farm families in an eight-county Southwest Indiana Region.


News
Technical glitch delays case updates
  • Updated

JASPER — After a near-record for single-day COVID-19 cases reported in Dubois County, Indiana Department of Health reported a global technical issue caused delays in the daily updates.

No updated report was available at deadline Thursday.

The 163 new cases reported in the county Wednesday is just two shy of the record 165 cases reported Dec. 15, 2020, before vaccines were widely available.

The county’s seven-day rolling positivity rate Wednesday was at 22.8% for all tests, and at 31.1% among people tested for the first time.

Northeast Dubois County Schools continue Friday on a virtual learning plan as a precaution in the most recent case surge.

RESOURCES

In addition to regular testing and vaccination scheduled, Dubois County Health Department offers an evening clinic at the health department office, 1187 South Charles Street, Jasper, from 3:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 19 to accommodate anyone wanting COVID-19 vaccine after normal business hours. No appointment is needed.

No vaccines other than COVID-19 will be available.

Patrons need to bring identification, insurance cards and COVID-19 vaccination card if available.

The drive-through clinic is open for anyone 12 and older. Anyone under 12 years old must come inside on arrival.

For more information about the clinic, phone 812-481-7056.

The Centers for Disease Control recommendations for booster shots and additional doses:

• People 12 and older should receive a booster shot. People age 12 to 17 must receive a Pfizer booster.

• People who received an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine (Pfizer or Moderna) should receive a booster shot at least five months after completing their primary vaccine series.

• Moderately or severely immunocompromised people age 5 or older who received an initial mRNA COVID-19 vaccine primary series should receive an additional primary dose of the same mRNA COVID-19 vaccine at least 28 days after the second dose.

• Moderately and severely immunocompromised people 12 or older who completed an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine primary series and received an additional mRNA vaccine dose should receive a single COVID-19 booster dose (Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna or Janssen) at least five months after completing their third mRNA vaccine dose. In such situations, people who are moderately and severely immunocompromised may receive a total of four COVID-19 vaccine doses.

• A person who received one primary dose of Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) COVID-19 vaccine should not receive more than two COVID-19 vaccine doses.

A parent must be present for anyone 5-18-years old and must complete a consent for vaccination form. A copy of a parent’s ID and insurance card must be included.


AP
Supreme Court halts COVID-19 vaccine rule for US businesses

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court has stopped a major push by the Biden administration to boost the nation's COVID-19 vaccination rate, a requirement that employees at large businesses get a vaccine or test regularly and wear a mask on the job.

At the same time, the court is allowing the administration to proceed with a vaccine mandate for most health care workers in the U.S. The court’s orders Thursday came during a spike in coronavirus cases caused by the omicron variant.

The court's conservative majority concluded the administration overstepped its authority by seeking to impose the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's vaccine-or-test rule on U.S. businesses with at least 100 employees. More than 80 million people would have been affected and OSHA had estimated that the rule would save 6,500 lives and prevent 250,000 hospitalizations over six months.

“OSHA has never before imposed such a mandate. Nor has Congress. Indeed, although Congress has enacted significant legislation addressing the COVID–19 pandemic, it has declined to enact any measure similar to what OSHA has promulgated here,” the conservatives wrote in an unsigned opinion.

In dissent, the court's three liberals argued that it was the court that was overreaching by substituting its judgment for that of health experts. “Acting outside of its competence and without legal basis, the Court displaces the judgments of the Government officials given the responsibility to respond to workplace health emergencies," Justices Stephen Breyer, Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor wrote in a joint dissent.

President Joe Biden said he was “disappointed that the Supreme Court has chosen to block common-sense life-saving requirements for employees at large businesses that were grounded squarely in both science and the law.”

Biden called on businesses to institute their own vaccination requirements, noting that a third of Fortune 100 companies already have done so.

When crafting the OSHA rule, White House officials always anticipated legal challenges — and privately some harbored doubts that it could withstand them. The administration nonetheless still views the rule as a success at already driving millions of people to get vaccinated and encouraging private businesses to implement their own requirements that are unaffected by the legal challenge.

The OSHA regulation had initially been blocked by a federal appeals court in New Orleans, then allowed to take effect by a federal appellate panel in Cincinnati.

Both rules had been challenged by Republican-led states. In addition, business groups attacked the OSHA emergency regulation as too expensive and likely to cause workers to leave their jobs at a time when finding new employees already is difficult.

The National Retail Federation, the nation’s largest retail trade group, called the Supreme Court’s decision “a significant victory for employers.”

The vaccine mandate that the court will allow to be enforced nationwide scraped by on a 5-4 vote, with Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Brett Kavanaugh joining the liberals to form a majority. The mandate covers virtually all health care workers in the country, applying to providers that receive federal Medicare or Medicaid funding. It affects 10.4 million workers at 76,000 health care facilities as well as home health care providers. The rule has medical and religious exemptions.

Biden said that decision by the court “will save lives.”

In an unsigned opinion, the court wrote: “The challenges posed by a global pandemic do not allow a federal agency to exercise power that Congress has not conferred upon it. At the same time, such unprecedented circumstances provide no grounds for limiting the exercise of authorities the agency has long been recognized to have." It said the “latter principle governs” in the healthcare arena.

Justice Clarence Thomas wrote in dissent that the case was about whether the administration has the authority “to force healthcare workers, by coercing their employers, to undergo a medical procedure they do not want and cannot undo.” He said the administration hadn’t shown convincingly that Congress gave it that authority.

Justices Samuel Alito, Neil Gorsuch and Amy Coney Barrett signed onto Thomas' opinion. Alito wrote a separate dissent that the other three conservatives also joined.

Decisions by federal appeals courts in New Orleans and St. Louis had blocked the mandate in about half the states. The administration already was taking steps to enforce it elsewhere.

More than 208 million Americans, 62.7% of the population, are fully vaccinated, and more than a third of those have received booster shots, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. All nine justices have gotten booster shots.

The courthouse remains closed to the public, and lawyers and reporters are asked for negative test results before being allowed inside the courtroom for arguments, though vaccinations are not required.

The justices heard arguments on the challenges last week. Their questions then hinted at the split verdict that they issued Thursday.

A separate vaccine mandate for federal contractors, on hold after lower courts blocked it, has not been considered by the Supreme Court.

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Associated Press writer Zeke Miller contributed to this report.

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This story corrects that four justices noted dissents in the health care vaccine case, not just Alito and Thomas.


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