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Pence "Confident" Legislature Will Approve Regional Cities Funds

Lisa Ryan, WBOI News

The Indiana Economic Development Corporation awarded Northeast Indiana $42 million in economic development money last week. Two other regions were awarded funds, and that means the legislature needs to approve more money than originally planned.

Gov. Mike Pence doesn’t have a clear answer for what will happen if the additional funding isn’t approved, but he says conversations have already started with members of the General Assembly.

He says he’s confident the legislature will approve the money, even though lawmakers were reluctant to allocate the funds during budget negotiations last legislative session.

“Trying to explain the value of regional collaboration within the context of the last budget session was challenging at moments,” Pence said. “The response that we’ve gotten from around the state of Indiana now… I think is going to greatly inform this process.”

The money comes from Indiana’s tax amnesty program, which collected about $138 million, nearly $50 million more than its goal.

Pence visited all three winning regions this week: Northeast, Southwest and North Central Indiana.

The proposals focus on quality-of-life projects that aim to keep young, educated people in the state and attract new talent. Northeast Indiana’s goal is to grow the population to one million people by 2031.

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