JEFFERSONVILLE – An amended version of the bill that could dismantle Jeffersonville's Promise is not heading to the House floor this week as expected.

Rep. Ed Clere, R-New Albany, who authored House Bill 1596, said last week he anticipated the bill would be heard early this week by the House for its second, and possibly third, reading.

However, Monday evening, Clere confirmed via text that the bill has instead been redirected to the Ways and Means Committee. The legislator has requested a hearing be held on it as was done with the first committee. 

H.B. 1596 passed through the Government and Regulatory Reform Committee on an 8-3 vote Wednesday at the Indiana Statehouse.

That decision came after two hours of contentious testimony from local leaders who spoke for and against the bill, which tightens existing language around the use of Tax Increment Financing (TIF) dollars.

At the heart of the locally controversial legislation is the fate of Jeffersonville’s Promise, the city’s new program that offers free tuition to Ivy Tech for qualified Jeffersonville High School students starting with the class of 2019.

The City of Jeffersonville, through its redevelopment commission, has pledged to commit a total of $750,000 in TIF dollars over the next five years to fund the program.

Clere – along with the bill's co-authors' Karen Engleman, R-Corydon, and Rep. Jeffrey Thompson, R-Lizton – are trying to prevent the use of TIF for such projects.

“I wasn’t expecting H.B. 1596 to be recommitted to Ways and Means, but another bill concerning redevelopment commissions, House Bill 1166, was recommitted, so it wasn’t surprising,” Clere said.

When asked what the specific reasons were for the change of direction of his bill, Clere said, “You will need to ask the Speaker’s office.” 

An e-mail requesting this information was sent to a representative of House Speaker Brian Bosma’s  (R-Indianapolis) Monday evening, but a response was not immediately returned.

Jeffersonville Mayor Mike Moore said the redirection of the bill was “encouraging. It’s what I was hoping for when I was leaving Indy late Wednesday evening,” he said.

Clere is no stranger to the House committee that will now be reviewing the bill.

“As a member of the Ways and Means Committee, I look forward to the discussion,” he said.

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