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STATEHOUSE – House Bill (HB) 1001, the biennial budget for the 2014-2015, passed the House today with a 68-28 vote. Representative John Price (R-Greenwood) supported the budget because of its emphasis on prioritizing education funding, protecting Hoosier taxpayers, preserving and enhancing vital services and maintaining a stable fiscal environment in the coming years.
“As the Crossroads of America, it is critical that we maintain and strengthen our state’s infrastructure,” said Rep. Price “The heart and soul of economic development starts with roads and bridges that allow for travel and commerce. As our state continues to look to a brighter future, attention must be paid to the avenues by which we travel.”
The budget calls for eliminating “off-the-top” expenses from the Motor Vehicle Highway Account (MHVA), enabling an additional $140 million per year to be allocated to roads and bridges. Twenty percent of the state sales tax on gas will also go to the MVHA, estimated to generate approximately $110 million each fiscal year. Together, these proposals will permanently increase road and bridge funding by $250 million per year, with revenue being split nearly 50-50 between state and local governments. Additionally, the budget aims to prompt airport development, vowing to double the state match for airport development projects from $2.4 million to $4.8 million per year.
While the budget places heavy emphasis on building up Indiana’s infrastructure, the Ways and Means Committee stressed that it does so while maintaining a conservative, prudent reserve. Fiscal responsibility is at the heart of this budget, enabling Indiana to live within its means.
“It is our goal that the 2015 General Assembly will inherit opportunities, not deficits,” said Rep. Price. “In this budget, spending levels are sustainable and a structural balance will be maintained years into the future.”
The predicted ending reserve balance of 2015 is estimated at over $2.1 billion, equal to 13.9 percent of 2015’s operating revenues. Healthy reserves are planned to be put in place to protect taxpayers and essential government services in the event of an economic downturn and help Indiana maintain its AAA credit rating.
“The budget proposed to the Indiana House of Representatives fosters greater economic opportunities yielding a positive future for Indiana. Transportation is just one of many great investments the Ways and Means Committee has chosen to make in an effort to boost our state’s economic standing,” said Rep. Price. “Investments in education, workforce training programs, economic innovation projects and protections for taxpayers render a plethora of opportunity to ensure a thriving future for Indiana.”