[Rep. Tim Brown speaking on HB 1001/Photo provided]
The Indiana House passed a new two-year spending plan by a 68-28 vote Monday... a thirty-billion dollar blueprint Republicans say will grow the private sector, bridge the skills gap and strengthen education... however, it does not include the income-tax cut sought by Republican Governor Mike Pence... a proposal that Democrats have wanted to advance.
STATEHOUSE — Authored by the Chairman of Ways and Means, State Representative Tim Brown (R-Crawfordsville), House Bill (HB) 1001, the biennial budget for the State of Indiana, passed out of the House with a 68-28 vote today [Monday]. The $30 billion blueprint for Indiana’s finances has a strong focus on growing the private sector, bridging the skills gap, strengthening education, building and maintaining infrastructure, shielding the vulnerable and protecting taxpayers.
[Pie graph/Rep. Tim Brown's office]
“The budget put forth by the Ways and Means committee indicates Republicans’ priorities of fiscal integrity, education and jobs,” said Rep. Brown. “This budget accomplishes our goals and puts Indiana in the best position to grow and prosper in the years ahead.”
The General Assembly has strived to create an economic environment in Indiana that is conducive to building the private sector and increasing Hoosier job opportunities. In addition to the state’s hospitable tax climate for both individuals and businesses, having a strong education system and infrastructure in place is key to sustainable growth.
HB 1001 will add $354 million to K-12 education over the biennium and an additional $500 million for roads and bridges.
The budget continues to implement the philosophy of ‘money following the child’. School corporations will be funded by the number of students attending the school enabling growing districts to keep up with the demand. The budget also allocates $300 million into the Tuition Reserve Fund. This account serves as an insurance policy for K-12 education in case of an economic slowdown.
Infrastructure improvements and strategic investments into the economy will help bridge the skills and opportunity gaps. Some of the funding for workforce development programs include: $750,000 to fund the Indiana Career Council (HB 1002) and Indiana Workforce Intelligence longitudinal data system; $6 million for the governor’s Indiana Works Councils (Senate Bill 465); $36 million, twice as much funding as the previous budget, for the Skills Enhancement Fund, which trains and educates Hoosier workers; and $14 million to restore funding for Adult Basic education programs.
Even with the spending increases, fiscal integrity is at the very heart of the proposed budget. It will accelerate the elimination of the death tax to January 1, 2018 saving taxpayers $270 million. Currently, the death tax would not have been eliminated until January 1, 2022. Speeding up the elimination of the death tax will help keep more farms and small family businesses in the hands of Hoosiers as well as encourage more Hoosiers to stay in Indiana after retirement.
HB 1001 will allow for sustainable spending levels in the future and enables Indiana to live within its means. Assuming conservative revenue growth and budget appropriation growth rates, a structural balance will remain intact.
“The House has led the effort on sustainable spending and responsible revenue management. This budget shows where our focus is, on education and jobs, and we have to look at the long term use of those funds so Indiana can continue to grow,” said Rep. Brown. “Indiana is open for business and Hoosiers are ready to work. Our focus is on growing the private sector and bridging the skills gap. We have a proven track record of being good fiscal stewards, and the House’s budget supports Hoosiers over the long run by giving them the tools they need to realize their American Dream.”