Indiana House Republicans offer preview of proposed budget

Public schools would receive funding increase

INDIANAPOLIS - Public schools would receive a 2 percent funding increase next year and then another 1 percent the year after that under the budget proposal that majority Indiana House Republicans are set to unveil Friday.

The two-year spending plan is worth about $29 billion and does not include Gov. Mike Pence’s proposal to lower the state’s individual income tax rate. It would, though, repeal the state’s inheritance tax, which is currently being phased out over a nine-year period.

It also includes extra annual funding and one-time injections into state and local roads budgets – an item that municipal leaders and business groups have lobbied lawmakers to make a top priority.

The biggest-ticket item, though, is K-12 education funding, which accounts for more than half the money the budget would spend. The House Republican budget includes about $63 million more per year for schools than Pence proposed a month ago.

It also includes $2.5 million per year for grants to put new science, technology, engineering and mathematics teachers in schools located in underserved areas.

“We are very confident that our state’s future depends in great part to strong public schools,” said Republican House Speaker Brian Bosma of Indianapolis. “In addition to our traditional support for a lot of options for family, we are very confident that strong public schools is a key to our state’s future – and you’ll see that with the dollars and cents behind it.”

The primary architect of the proposed spending plan, House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Tim Brown, R-Crawfordsville, will roll out all its details in a Friday morning briefing with reporters.

But Bosma offered a broad preview Thursday, and House Republicans briefly posted the document as well as school funding projections on their website Thursday evening.

Bosma said the budget will “strategically restore and invest in some of the cuts in the programs for the vulnerable. … You’ll see a restoration of funding for some critical programs that we all know first-hand are helping Hoosiers in need.” 

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