Bill to boost Gary economics heads to Senate
By Matt Mikus email@example.com February 26, 2013 5:06PM
Updated: March 28, 2013 6:34AM
INDIANAPOLIS — The Gary economic bill, SB 585, passed out of the Senate Tuesday with a unanimous vote.
The author Sen. Ed Charbonneau, R-Valparaiso, said the bill would provide for a feasability study for expanding the Port of Indiana to the city of Gary, and a study for establishing a trauma center and medical teaching hospital in Northwest Indiana.
It would also provide the city with access to a maximum of $3 million in tax revenues from the Gary Sanitary District.
It also allows Lake County to levy a 1 percent income tax.
Charbonneau said he was proud of the bipartisan support designed to “spur economic development in Northwest Indiana.
“I am proud to say that there has not been one person that testified against this piece of legislation,” he said.
The bill will be sponsored in the house by Republicans Ed Soliday of Valparaiso, Rick Niemeyer of Lowell, and Hal Slager of Schererville and Democrat Charlie Brown of Gary.
House Speaker Brian Bosma, R-Indianapolis, said the Gary economic bill has a better chance of passage since removal of language allowing one of the city’s casinos to move off the lake to land near Interstate 80/94.
“The one piece that would have been a huge hurdle would have been the land-based casino,” Bosma said. “With that coming out, the bill looks a lot more attractive.”
Bosma added that Gary Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson has been in communication with state legislators and has helped to identify the many concerns for the area, including the trauma center and port studies, and the Gary/Chicago International Airport.
“We’ll have to look at the details but these aren’t new issues to us,” Bosma said. “We’ve discussed them in the past, but we’ve been able to help before.”