The state’s two-year budget bill is moving on to the full Senate. House Bill 1001, which unanimously cleared the Senate Appropriations Committee Thursday morning, includes $2 million per year to help with efforts to attract international direct flights to Indiana airports and $20 million per year for the Indiana Biosciences Research Institute. In its current form, the bill would allocate $16 million a year for the statewide pre-kindergarten pilot program, which is an increase from the current $10 million allocation.
Governor Eric Holcomb’s proposed budget in January requested $5 million per year for overseas flights, $20 million for the IBRI and $20 million for the pre-k pilot.
Senator Luke Kenley (R-20), who chairs the committee, says the bill offers a heavy emphasis on K-12 spending. He said the share is "slightly higher" than in the past. "We focus on K-12 education. We increase the formula itself by $358 million over the biennium, which is a 1.7 percent increase each year and a 3.25 percent overall increase in K-12 education funding over the biennium," Kenley said during the committee vote at the Statehouse.
Over the next two years, this version of the budget calls for items including:
- $10 million for the STEM Teacher Recruitment Fund
- $25 million for charter and Innovation Network schools
- $323 million to fund the state’s Choice Scholarships school voucher program
The version that will hit the Senate floor includes $1 million a year for the Indiana Regional Cities Initiative, which may not end up being the final figure. During the last budget-writing session in 2015, the program that supplies funding to quality-of-place projects in three approved regions throughout the state was fully-funded at $84 million over two years after legislators created a one-time tax amnesty program to pay for the initiative. Holcomb requested $4 million for two years in his initial budget proposal.
Additionally, this bill would increase the cigarette tax by $1 per pack and use the revenue to reimburse Medicaid providers.
You can connect to House Bill 1001 by clicking here.
Senator Luke Kenley (R-20), who chairs the committee, says the bill offers a heavy emphasis on spending for K-12 schools.