A House conference committee is hashing out a final version of a two-year state budget. Ways and Means Chair Tim Brown (R-41) says one of the challenges will be crafting a budget in the face of a revenue forecast that throws the first year “structurally out-of-balance.” Much of the discussion today has revolved around overall education spending, including vouchers, projects at Indiana State University and Purdue University and the planned multi-institutional medical campus in downtown Evansville.

Representative Greg Porter (D-96) agrees that education spending should be a priority, but he pushed for the committee to peel back some of the spending on school vouchers.

During testimony this morning at the Statehouse, many interest group representatives discussed items the committee could add or remove from the budget.

Indiana Chamber of Commerce President Kevin Brinegar urged legislators to re-insert funding for the Education Roundtable. It was stripped out by the Senate.

Source: Inside INdiana Business

April 17, 2015

News Release

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Governor Mike Pence today issued the following statement urging the legislature to prioritize education funding in the FY 2016-2017 budget, which they are expected to discuss in conference committee this morning.

“Yesterday the April revenue forecast showed that the State of Indiana will have approximately $213 million less than was estimated in December for the upcoming 2016-2017 budget. While this forecast confirms the importance of fiscal discipline, it should be noted that the revised forecast still projects modest revenue growth. I believe that education should be our top priority for those new dollars. If we are to have 100,000 more students in B or better schools by 2020, we must fund excellence in education at every level for all of Indiana's kids and provide more equitable funding for every child in every school. As my budget proposal demonstrated, we can provide additional resources for traditional public schools, increase the amount of funding for each charter school student, support our choice scholarship program and provide the resources to make career and vocational education a priority once again. My budget also found innovative ways to fund non-education priorities, like the Regional Cities initiative and bicentennial projects, without spending general fund dollars needed for priorities like education. As this session comes to a close, I am confident we have the resources to fully fund not only my education priorities but also those of the House and Senate. To accomplish this, we will need to have the courage necessary to pass an honestly balanced budget that protects taxpayers while still supporting the kind of investments that will strengthen our economy and improve education for all our children. I look forward to working with legislative leaders in the days ahead as we complete our work on the 2016-2017 budget.”

Source: The Office of Governor Mike Pence

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