With the stimulus tax rebate checks almost in the mail for this spring, Senator John McCain has proposed a second stimulus plan to help Americans through the summer. In this bankruptcy blog, I’ve been writing about all the latest financial news that affects people in Indiana, and which can particularly be of use to my Indiana bankruptcy clients as I work with them to rebuild their financial lives. One of the “biggies” in the McCain plan is a suspension of the federal gasoline tax from Memorial Day to Labor Day of this year. ( I don’t need to discuss with you whether you’d find that a help – every time we fill up our auto tank, we’d save a few bucks!) In discussing his plan, McCain also points out something that I have written about in earlier blogs: The cost of gas affects the prices of food, the prices of packaging, and the cost of everything that has plastic in it. Long story short – not having to pay tax on gasoline all summer would be a nice form of relief.

Meanwhile, back home in Indiana, Governor Daniels has been talking about a stimulus plan of a different sort. This one is more long-range in its thinking, and would stimulate students to stay in school and go to college. Daniels wants to offer two years of free community college tuition for all high school graduates whose families earn less than the state’s median income. The idea is to help more students gain the skills to advance beyond low-paying, entry-level jobs. As Indiana grows its demand for high-tech, life sciences, and logistics employees, Daniels points out, Indiana students need to be qualified for those jobs.

This Indiana proposal, too, is something in which I have a keen interest. As a bankruptcy attorney with offices in four cities around our state of Indiana, I know that our Indiana bankruptcy court system can serve as a safety net. When our citizens become overwhelmed by debt problems, often due to circumstances beyond their control, the bankruptcy process is designed to offer them the opportunity for a fresh start. The greater the number of good jobs in our state, and the more Hoosiers adequately trained to fill those jobs, the better a fresh start that can be. I’m thinking about clients whose careers have been derailed by corporate layoffs or extended illness in their family. Then I think about their children just starting out on their own financial lives. The better chance people have to get a good education, the more hope there is for the bankruptcy safety net to work.