Indiana Senate Majority Floor Leader Brandt Hershman (R-7) says a slightly higher-than-expected state revenue forecast will bring legislators confidence as they lock in a two-year budget. The Indiana State Budget Agency bumped up a previous projection by $200 million, which Hershman tells Inside INdiana Business isn’t a lot in the grand scheme of a biennial budget, but "suggests that Indiana’s economy is at least stable-to-growing-slightly." The budget is expected to exceed $30 billion and calls for initiatives including a long-term mechanism to fund billions in road and bridge work, a potential expansion of the statewide pre-kindergarten program and a proposal to help Hoosier airports attract international flights.
More than $1 billion per year in additional funding is expected to be needed to cover future transportation infrastructure needs and spending for K-12 education already takes up more than half the budget. The boosted forecast "gives us not a lot more money to spend," Hershman says, "but a little bit more confidence in the spending decisions we are currently making that we’re going to have the money to make it happen."
Legislators will attempt to wrap up the session next week, one week ahead of the April 29 deadline for adjourning the 2017 session.