STATEHOUSE (April 22, 2017) - House Speaker Brian C. Bosma (R-Indianapolis) said Indiana House Republicans successfully met their 2017 legislative goals as the General Assembly concluded its work.
In addition to passing the largest state and local infrastructure investment in Indiana's history, lawmakers supported an honestly balanced, two-year state budget while funding key priorities. Bosma said House Republicans successfully passed other legislative agenda items, including supporting students and teachers, improving Indiana's workforce, increasing public safety and attacking the state's drug epidemic.
"This session's historic, transforming achievements include the passage of the largest state and local infrastructure investment in Indiana's history and a structurally balanced state budget," Bosma said. "Fiscal responsibility was the cornerstone of our legislative agenda as we supported commonsense, pro-growth policies that will fuel our state's top-ranked economic engine."
The 2017 legislative session was dominated by the discussion on how to pay for state and local roads and maintain Indiana's reputation as the Crossroads of America. Bosma said House Enrolled Act 1002 represents a comprehensive, responsible and sustainable plan to fund Indiana's infrastructure over the next 20 years.
"Our comprehensive roads plan is an incredible accomplishment, and it's based on a conservative, user-pays approach that directs all fees paid at the pump directly to roads," Bosma said.
The measure provides nearly $900 million in new annual funding for state roads and bridges by 2024, and local communities will see an average of $300 million in new road and bridge funding each year. Overall, the plan is expected to generate $1.2 billion in new annual revenue for state and local roads and bridges beginning in 2024.
House and Senate legislators also passed a structurally balanced budget, which maintains healthy reserves and protects Indiana's AAA credit rating.
With over half of the state's biennial budget dedicated to education, Bosma said House Enrolled Act 1001 includes substantial increases to the base funding for each K-12 student and modestly increases the state's investment in higher education. Legislators also increased state funding by $10 million for Indiana's high-quality pre-K pilot program, which helps low-income children, and expanded the number of eligible counties from 5 to 20.
House Republicans also focused on attracting, retaining and improving Indiana's workforce. Bosma said lawmakers passed legislation aimed at aligning career and technical education programs with current and future employer needs. In addition, new Workforce Training Grants will soon be available to help Hoosier workers obtain certifications in high-wage fields. The grant would cover a person's fees or tuition after they received any eligible state and federal funding.
To support public safety, the budget includes pay increases for state law enforcement officers in order to be more competitive with municipalities and other states. Bosma said legislation also advanced this session to expand and invest in addiction treatment options to combat the state's drug epidemic.