Dr. Tim Brown Named House Ways And Means Chairman
Speaker Bosma says health expertise one reason why
New House Ways and Means Chariman Dr. Tim Brown (left) with House Speaker Brian Bosma (wibc.com photo: Ray Steele)
You can ask the new chairman of Indiana's House Ways and Means committee "what's up, Doc", and the speaker of the state house says that's by design.
Listen to Ray Steele's report:
Representative Tim Brown of Crawfordsville will lead the House's budget writing committee when the new session of the General Assembly begins in January. "I am very honored and humbled to be asked to fill this role," said the emergency room physician who previously chaired the House's Public Health Committee.
Speaker Brian Bosma says Brown's expertise in the health field is one reason he wanted Brown to head Ways and Means, since the implementation of the federal Affordable Care Act will likely mean a boost in state spending on Medicaid. "(Health care bills) would have to be reassigned to Ways and Means most likely if they had a fiscal impact, so it made a lot of sense to center the expertise in this committee, and that's where the discussion will take place," said Bosma
Brown, however, says health care has not displaced the state's top spending priority. "Number one is K-through-12 education. It's part of our constitution, it's part of our being, it's a part of what we all feel passionately about. I think that will be something that's looked at at its highest priority," Brown said.
Bosma says Indiana is the "fiscal envy" of other states and believes Brown and other Republicans on Ways and Means will help keep it that way. "It's easy to write a budget when there's no money. It's harder to write a budget when there's a little bit of money. We'll have to set priorities for the future, make sure they are established and can be sustained," said Brown.
Brown replaces Jeff Espich on Ways and Means. Espich served three separate stints as the committee's chairman, but he retired from the Legislature this year after 40 years in the House. Rep. Suzanne Crouch of Evansville will continue as Vice Chair of the committee, while Cicero Rep. Eric Turner will serve as Budget Committee Alternate. “It is our goal to bring fiscal integrity to our state and to provide an economic climate to spur job creation, and this is the team to do just that,” said Bosma.
Indianapolis Representative Greg Porter will serve as the ranking House Democrat on the committee. “I realize that Republicans run the Indiana House, but I also know that their leaders have said they intend to work with Democrats to make sure that both sides get a chance to play an active role in reaching agreement on the major issues we will face," Porter said in a statement.