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House GOP Approves $36 Billion State Budget, Sending It To Senate

Lauren Chapman
IPB News

House Republicans approved a new, two-year, $36 billion budget Monday they say boosts education and helps businesses recover from the pandemic.

Democrats, however, say the GOP budget fails to adequately lift people up.

Rep. Tim Brown (R-Crawfordsville) is his caucus’s budget architect. He touts $378 million new spending for K-12 education (about a third of which will go to private school vouchers), grants for small business recovery, student learning loss, law enforcement and regional economic development.

“Indiana is the best state in the Midwest for jobs and people working and that shows in the strength of how we budget in state government,” Brown said.

The federal Bureau of Labor Statistics shows Indiana is near the top – but not the best – in the Midwest region for labor force growth and its unemployment rate over the last year.

READ MORE: How Do I Follow Indiana's Legislative Session? Here's Your Guide To Demystify The Process

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Rep. Holli Sullivan (R-Evansville) said Indiana's budget situation is the envy of other states.

"They would relish the conversation of which [career and technical education] funding dollars to use in which classes versus how much to cut out of their CTE funding," Sullivan said.

But Rep. Ed DeLaney (D-Indianapolis) said the budget fails to address many of the state’s critical issues.

“Are we going to continue to be overweight, with high blood pressure, with low college graduation rates? Is that what we’re going to do? Gonna continue to pay our teachers $10,000 less than they should be making?" DeLaney said. "This budget is absolutely devoid of any vision.”

Rep. Greg Porter (D-Indianapolis) laments all the Democratic amendments to the budget Republicans rejected: small increases for women- and minority-owned businesses and food banks, increased spending on public health and more money for pre-K education.

"There are so many things that we've worked on for so many years to try to help lift people up ... we can do better," Porter said.

The budget now heads to the Senate.

Contact reporter Brandon at or follow him on Twitter at @brandonjsmith5.

Brandon Smith is excited to be working for public radio in Indiana. He has previously worked in public radio as a reporter and anchor in mid-Missouri for KBIA Radio out of Columbia. Prior to that, he worked for WSPY Radio in Plano, Illinois as a show host, reporter, producer and anchor. His first job in radio was in another state capitol, in Jefferson City, Missouri, as a reporter for three radio stations around Missouri. Brandon graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a Bachelor of Journalism in 2010, with minors in political science and history. He was born and raised in Chicago.