Rep. Dermody Votes 'Yes' to Taxpayer-Friendly Budget
STATEHOUSE - Despite numerous compromises, Republican principles remain at the core of the newly adopted state budget, making it a pro-taxpayer, pro-education reform measure, State Rep. Tom Dermody (R-LaPorte) said today.
The House of Representatives approved the conference committee report on a two-year $27.9 billion budget today by a vote of 62-37, with all House Republicans supporting it. The Senate approved the budget today as well.
"Our job was to create a responsible budget for Hoosier taxpayers, and after much hard work and debate, the legislature was able to pass a spending plan I could support," said Rep. Dermody. "Indiana remains just one of a few states that were able to increase K-12 education dollars and do so without raising any state taxes.
"Higher education was also responsibly funded and will allow Purdue North Central to continue growing. Additionally, I'm happy there are funds appropriated to continue work on the Kankakee River Basin - something that was a priority for me during session - as well as a provision that will allow LaPorte to apply for a rainy day fund loan to help keep the city solvent.
"Overall, I would say this budget goes a long way to protect taxpayers in northwest Indiana."
The budget includes the following provisions:
o It contains no tax increases.
o It maintains at least $1 billion in state reserves.
o It uses one-time federal stimulus money for one-time purposes, including statewide infrastructure projects, university construction projects, some university operating expenses and the final installment of state-funded homestead tax grants. Title I and special education stimulus money will be used for one-time investments to improve facilities, technology and equipment; this would not increase base operating expenses.
o It does not raid pension funds, trust funds or use other dedicated money for operating purposes.
o The new state budget also protects education and advances education reform efforts:
o It supports K-12 education with an average increase of 1.1 percent in calendar year 2010 and 0.3 percent in calendar year 2011.
o It fully funds enrollment growth at rapidly-growing schools.
o It includes enhanced support for Ivy Tech Community College, improving the state's community college network as well as training opportunities for unemployed workers.
The fiscal year ends today. If legislators had not passed a budget, most state agencies would have shut down Wednesday and most state workers would have been furloughed.