state budget

FILE PHOTO: Lauren Chapman / IPB News

Gov. Eric Holcomb's state budget proposal is receiving mixed reviews from education groups, after he unveiled his financial priorities for the state last week.

Courtesy of the Governor's Office

Gov. Eric Holcomb’s new state budget proposal would spend $1.13 billion over the next two years on one-time initiatives. And almost none of that would be direct relief for Hoosiers struggling during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

FILE PHOTO: Tyler Lake / WTIU

U.S. Sen. Mike Braun (R-Ind.) says he’ll be “disappointed” if the federal government provides any financial support for state and local government budgets in future COVID-19 relief packages.

Brandon Smith / IPB News

  Indiana finished its most recent fiscal year with more money in reserve than it’s ever had.

 

State leaders Thursday were pleasantly surprised by revenue growth over the last year, $266 million more in collections than expected. It's the strongest growth rate since 2012, which Office of Management and Budget Director Cris Johnston calls “comforting” after state officials and lawmakers wrung their hands about money when writing the new state budget earlier this year.

 

The Center for Public Intergrity

The Center for Public Integrity released a report Monday that grades state government accountability and transparency, and Indiana received a D-.

Brandon Smith / Indiana Public Broadcasting

Governor Mike Pence Thursday proudly touted Indiana’s continued fiscal strength as he closed the books on the fiscal year.  But that strength has Democrats wondering why Pence continues to order state agencies to cut their budgets.

Indiana finished its 2015 fiscal year with a $210 million surplus, helping increase budget reserves to more than $2.1 billion.  But state agencies reverted $133 million, meaning if the governor hadn’t required agencies to send any money back, the state still would’ve had a surplus. 

Courtesy / Indiana Retired Teachers Association

Members of the public Friday got their last chance to weigh in on the budget bill this session.  Retiree advocates made a plea for more spending even as a gloomy new revenue forecast has lawmakers looking to cut money out of their budget proposals.

The so-called “13th check” is an additional yearly benefit for retired public employees and teachers.  The amount can range from $150-$450. 

The Senate Republican budget proposal mirrors its House counterpart in setting aside $400 million for future road projects.  The chamber's budget leader says he’d like to keep that money in state coffers the next two years.

In the 2013 budget, lawmakers created the Major Moves 2020 fund that put aside $400 million for future projects.  But the Pence administration, with State Budget Committee approval, took that money and spent it on road projects over the last two years. 

House, Senate Disagree on Education Funding

Apr 10, 2015
Courtesy / Indiana Senate Republicans

The Senate released its version of the state budget Thursday, outlining a method to fund schools different from that proposed by the House.

There are two pots of money when it comes to school funding: foundation and complexity. Foundation is the amount of money the state gives every student. Complexity is the money allocated toward low-income students.

The biggest difference between the House and Senate budgets is how a student qualifies for complexity money.

Courtesy / Indiana House Republicans

House Democrats say the state budget proposed by House Republicans will devastate many public schools throughout the state.  The budget passed overwhelmingly in a House vote Tuesday.

House Republicans named education their top focus this session, and the bulk of debate over the budget revolves around education funding. 

Specifically, it involves changes to the school funding formula that seek to help growing, wealthier suburban school districts.  But those changes would mean significantly less money for poor, inner city schools that are losing students. 

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