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Senate GOP: We're ready to balance the budget, consider Daniels' reforms

STATEHOUSE (Jan. 11, 2011) - Indiana Senate Republicans said their caucus stands ready to work with Gov. Mitch Daniels and other lawmakers to balance the state's two-year state budget and to consider reforms outlined in Tuesday's State of the State Address.

"Witnessing my first live State of the State Address was very exciting," State Sen. Jim Smith (R-Charlestown) said. "It was an honor to be involved and sit among the leaders of our great state. Gov. Daniels presented some bold and innovative ideas. I look forward to seeing what my constituents think and encourage them to express their views in my online survey."

Daniels' seventh State of the State called on lawmakers to pass legislation improving Indiana schools, reforming local government and updating the state's criminal justice system.

Smith said most Senate Republicans are philosophically supportive of Daniels' call to identify and reward successful teachers and principals; instill accountability and provide assistance for turning around poor performing schools; and allow more education options for families trapped by failing schools.

"Deciding how Indiana gets there requires input from the public and bipartisanship from lawmakers," Smith said.

Other Senate GOP objectives for the 2011 legislative session include fostering private-sector job growth, cutting government red tape and promoting fair redistricting, Smith said.

Sen. Smith represents Senate District 45, which includes Jefferson, Scott and Switzerland counties, and portions of Clark, Jackson, Jennings and Washington counties.