Senator Brandt Hershman (R-7) is proposing a bill that would send $418 million to local governments for infrastructure improvements. During a news conference Thursday at the Statehouse, Hershman said the plan would be funded through local income tax revenues that would be distributed based on how much comes to the state from the municipality. Republicans, who hold a super majority in the House and Senate, have said funding for roads and bridges is the top legislative priority.
Hershman says he thinks all communities will be "very, very happy" with the amount of support they receive.
The proposal calls for a one-time distribution of built-up reserves that state has amassed from local income tax collections. The bill would go around current state law, which only distributes local income tax reserves after it has built up beyond 50 percent. That threshold has not yet been exceeded.
Hershman says current estimates show more than $170 million would go to counties and nearly $250 million would be pegged for cities and towns. The bill includes a previsions requiring a minimum of 75 percent of the funds go toward local roads and bridges or a rainy day fund. The remainder could be used in any other way the municipality decides.
Senate Bill 67 will be co-sponsored by Senate Appropriation Committee Chairman Luke Kenley (R-20) and Senate Homeland Security and Transportation Committee Chairman Carlin Yoder (R-12).
Hershman says "Hoosiers will benefit from a historic opportunity to invest in local road improvements, which local governments around the state have identified as a top priority. This plan provides substantial local road resources now, without tapping into Indiana’s budget reserves, raising taxes, or creating debt."
Governor Mike Pence supports the proposal and says it compliments his 21st Century Crossroads plan, which he has said would provide $1 billion for state road funding for four years. Pence says Yoder will be authoring that piece of legislation.
A plan Democrats unveiled last month calls for $2 billion in new infrastructure spending.
Legislators will return to the Statehouse January 5 to resume work on the short session.
Editor’s Note: Audio courtesy of our partners at WTHR-TV Indianapolis.
Senator Brandt Hershman (R-7) says he thinks all communities will be “very, very happy” with the amount of support they receive.