STATEHOUSE – The proposed state budget, House Bill (HB) 1001, passed the House today with a 68-28 vote. The budget has a strong focus on high quality job growth, bridging the skills gap, education, building and maintaining infrastructure, protecting the vulnerable, protecting taxpayers and fiscal integrity.
“I’m proud of the work the House has put into making a well-balanced and fair budget this session,” said Rep. DeVon (R-Granger). “Indiana has a long history of taking a conservative approach to handling taxpayers’ money, and I think the priorities we set for this budget reflect that. Increasing the funding for K-12 schools is crucial for the future generations of Hoosiers. We’ll be adding $354 million over the next two years, critical for investing in the future leaders of our state.”
With the additional funding being invested in education, Hoosiers will see tuition support for K-12 programs as well as funding for a preschool pilot program. Higher education will also see a bump in funding as recommended for the Commission on Higher Education. Nearly $200 million will be allocated for capital projects with no debt burden to Hoosier taxpayers resulting in significant interest savings.
Providing a jobs-ready business environment following completion of higher education is essential for retaining our state’s most capable and high-performing students. Indiana has been recognized by numerous publications as one of the most pro-business states in the country, and companies have opened shop here as a result. However, a skills gap exists between job openings and qualified workers, so this budget will allocate $10 million for STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) teachers in schools where they are most needed. Additionally, $36 million will be allocated to the Skills Enhancement Fund to train and educate Hoosier workers.
The proposed budget also provides Hoosiers with tax relief. Under current law, the state death tax will be completely phased out by Jan. 1, 2022. Under the proposed budget, the tax would be completely eliminated by 2018 and would save taxpayers $270 million. The elimination of this tax would help Hoosier farmers and small business owners to keep their land and businesses in the family by protecting their children and grandchildren from having to pay for businesses and properties that have already been paid for.
“Farmers and small business owners should be able to pass down their property or business without financially burdening their children and grandchildren,” said Rep. DeVon. “This is another example of how the proposed budget is protecting Hoosier taxpayers. With a focus on fiscal integrity, I believe Indiana is continuing its track record of taking a conservative approach to boosting the Hoosier economy.”