STATEHOUSE – The state budget is heading to the House floor after being approved by the House Ways and Means committee on Tuesday. The committee released Indiana’s 2014-2015 budget last Friday. Some of the goals of the introduced budget were to protect Hoosier taxpayers, prioritize education funding, and build and maintain infrastructure.
“Overall I believe the budget must be balanced while still being committed to fiscal integrity and maintaining the best interests of Hoosiers,” said Rep. Rebecca Kubacki (R-Syracuse). “I am very pleased that both were accomplished by the Ways and Means Committee while still pledging to improve education and infrastructure in Indiana.”
Investing in education was a priority in the budget in regards to both K-12 and higher education. The total school operating funding will increase 3.3 percent or $344 million dollars. The money will go towards supporting tuition for full day kindergarten. Programs such as dropout prevention and assistance for in-demand teachers will also receive additional funding. Also, $40 million dollars in funding will be given to the Department of Child Services.
Building and maintaining infrastructure is another goal in the House budget with an increase in funding. The budget dedicates 20 percent of the state sales tax on gas to go to the Motor Vehicle Highway Account (MVHA) in addition to eliminating “off-the-top” expenses from the MVHA, which will increase road and bridge funding by $140 million. Together these proposals will permanently increase road and bridge funding by $250 million per year.
“In the interest of our Hoosier children I am very pleased to see there is additional funding for the Department of Child Services. The DCS will be able to accomplish goals such as improving health serves offerings for children with these new funds. I believe with this balanced budget Indiana will continue to move forward and the General Assembly will have opportunities and not deficits,” said Rep. Kubacki.