(AP) - The Indiana House approved a $30 billion budget Monday night that
includes an additional $700 million for roads and schools than was
originally sought by the governor.
The House voted
67-29 along party lines for the two-year budget. It now moves to the Senate.
The House budget
adds $200 million for education and $500 million for roads to the proposal
submitted by Gov. Mike Pence last month. Pence also wanted a 10 percent cut
to the personal income tax, which would have cost $500 million a year, but
lawmakers left that out of the House bill.
outnumbered 69-31, Democrats argued that the budget still doesn’t spend
enough on education and continues to shift more burdens onto the middle and
lower class. “Looks at this budget, it’s not a good budget, it’s not a sound
budget, it’s not a budget for all,” said Rep. Greg Porter, D-Indianapolis,
the top Democrat on the budget-writing House Ways and Means Committee.
But the lead
budget writer in the House countered that the budget restores much of the
funding that was cut during the last few years.
the Great Recession, we have lived through something in our lifetime I hope
we never go through again. Taxpayers didn’t have it in their pockets to give
to schools, it just wasn’t there,” said the committee’s chairman, Rep. Tim
Brown of Crawfordsville.
noted that the $6.7 billion the budget spends on education is the most
allocated in the state’s history. The budget covers fiscal years 2014 and
leaders have said they are not ruling out the tax proposal that Pence made
the centerpiece of his run for governor last year and his top legislative
priority in his first year in office.
Pence has said
he is disappointed by the decision to leave the tax cut out of the budget
but is optimistic he can win his signature proposal before lawmakers wrap up
work April 29.
Leaders in both
chambers have held some cards tight in the ongoing budget negotiations,
saying updated tax collection forecasts due in April will give them a better
idea about what the state could afford over the next two years.
are working with a roughly $500 million budget surplus each year and roughly
$2 billion in cash reserves left by former Gov. Mitch Daniels. But they are
also facing pressure from many, including local and county leaders who were
forced to slash budgets during Daniels’ tenure, to restore spending cut
during the recession.