Senate Passes Proposed Budget Bill

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INDIANAPOLIS -

The Indiana Senate has passed its version of the two-year state budget proposal by a vote of 39-9. Senator Luke Kenley (R-20) says the proposal would end with $1.8 billion in reserves, increase K-12 funding and expand the state's pre-kindergarten pilot program to all 92 counties.

Other aspects of the Senate version of the the bill include $2 million per year for direct international flights and a two-year, $100 million increase in funding for the Department of Child Services. House Bill 1001 now returns to the Indiana House for further consideration.

"The Senate’s budget proposal continues Indiana’s track record of fiscal integrity, and does not include a cigarette-tax increase," said Kenley. "I believe we are well on our way to a budget that properly funds state services, while maintaining strong reserves in order to protect taxpayers."

Kenley's office cited highlights of the budget, including:

Balanced Budget

  • Ongoing revenues exceed ongoing expenditures
  • Ends biennium with $1.8 billion in reserves

K-12 Education

  • Increases K-12 funding by $358 million over the biennium (including Choice Scholarship program)
  • Increases foundation funding to $5,211 per student in FY 2018 and $5,274 in FY 2019
  • Adds $40 million per year to Complexity funding (compared to the House-passed version of the budget)
  • Directs funding to Career and Technical Education courses in high-wage, high-demand job fields
  • Replaces the Teacher Performance Grant program with the Teacher Appreciation Grant (TAG) program, which would provide cash stipends to effective and highly effective teachers in every school corporation based on ADM count ($39 per ADM)

Higher Education

  • Increases total university operating funds by $76 million over the biennium (1.5 percent annual increase)
  • Authorizes $404 million in university capital projects over the biennium
  • Maintains student financial aid awards with $695 million over the biennium
  • Provides $80 million per year in higher education performance funding

Pre-K Education

  • $16 million per year for pre-K education, which would fund the Senate’s pre-K proposal
    • $4 million increase per year over current funding level
    • Expands pilot to all 92 counties
    • Sets aside $1 million for in-home early education services

Economic Development

  • $20 million for the Bioscience Research Institute
  • $2 million per year for direct international flights
  • $6 million in debt service to double track the South Shore Line

Public Safety and Corrections

  • Increases State Police pay over two years
  • $1.5 million per year for adult guardianship needs
  • $4.5 million per year for the Public Defender Commission to address public defender needs and Children in Need of Services (CHINS) cases

Support for Hoosier Veterans

  • Increases funding for Veterans Problem Solving Courts by $1 million over the biennium
  • Allocates new funding to the Indiana Department of Veterans’ Affairs:
    • $300,000 per year for six floating veterans service officers, who will work with the county veterans service officers to improve local services for veterans
    • $500,000 to assist homeless veterans
    • $500,000 to create a hyperbaric oxygen treatment pilot
    • $250,000 per year for Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Inc., an Indianapolis-based organization that honors the sacrifices of Vietnam veterans
    • $250,000 per year for USS Indiana Commissioning Committee, which promotes and celebrates the upcoming commissioning of a new state-of-the-art Navy submarine named after Indiana
  • Provides $800,000 per year for Veterans Service Organizations to improve assistance for veterans seeking benefits

Support for Hoosiers in Need

  • $100 million increase over the biennium for Department of Child Services
  • $5 million over the biennium for the Governor’s Task Force on Drug Enforcement, Treatment and Prevention
  • $3 million per year increase for Adult Protective Services
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