STATEHOUSE – Indiana’s budget proposal or House Bill (HB) 1001 passed from House with a 67 to 29 vote on Monday and will now go Senate for further consideration. The bill includes many goals such as; Hoosier taxpayer protection, prioritizing education funding, preserving and enhancing vital services and maintaining the stable fiscal environment necessary to grow the Hoosier economy.
“As a member of Ways and Means, I have heard input from many Hoosiers throughout West Central Indiana and the state on the budget,” said State Rep. Jim Baird (R-Greencastle). “After working with my colleagues, I believe we have drafted a balanced budget proposal to addresses many of their concerns including; increased investing for our Hoosier students and phasing out the death tax which benefits our agricultural communities.”
The budget proposal or House Bill (HB) 1001 increases education funds by 3.3 percent over the course of two years. With the cuts that occurred in 2009, this funding surge restores spending to accommodate necessary instructional initiatives like full-day kindergarten and a pre-K pilot program available to low-income Hoosier families.
“Education is the key our state’s success, and I believe that by increasing school funding our budget proposal adequately reflects that,” said Rep. Baird. “There are countless studies that show early education leads to future achievement and those studies, combined with Hoosier support, are driving this funding increase.”
In addition to increased education funding, HB 1001 pushes to eliminate the death tax by Jan. 1, 2018. Currently, the law establishes the death tax phase out to-occur on Jan. 1, 2022. By pushing the date forward four years, Hoosier taxpayers would save nearly $300 million – keeping more farms and small family business in the hands of Hoosiers.
“Farmland makes up a majority of West Central Indiana and the death tax has a direct effect on them,” said Rep. Baird. “We want to encourage more Hoosier farmers to stay in Indiana after they retire and to be worry free on those they pass their family farm onto.”
A further initiative in the budget is a proposal for additional funding for roads and bridges. This money is raised through taking “off the top” expense away from Motor Vehicle Highway Account (MVHA) and dedicating 20 percent of the State gas tax to the MVHA. Together these proposals permanently increase the infrastructure funding by $250 million per year. The state and local split of this money would be approximately 53 to 47 percent.
“Building, maintaining and repairing our roadways and bridges are some of smartest investments we can make in our state’s future, and by increasing transportation funds in the budget and as the Crossroads state, our economy will continue to see the economic benefits of this,” said Rep. Baird.
Visit www.in.gov/legislative for more information about HB 1001.