STATEHOUSE - The budget passed by the Democrat majority in the Indiana House of Representatives today is not only a disappointment, it is a disaster. That is why I could not vote for it.
It worries me in many ways.
First, it spends much more than the state is likely to bring in.
Second, it removes taxpayer protection on state spending.
Third, it runs the risk of increasing property taxes by allowing some areas to circumvent the property tax caps.
This budget puts Hoosiers' checkbooks, the state's economy and the functions of Indiana government at risk. I hope, as the budget works its way through the Senate and then back to the House, these problems can be resolved.
House Bill 1001, as it stands now, ignores the simplest rule of responsible budgeting - don't spend more than you're likely to take in. It also uses the legislative equivalent of smoke and mirrors to hide irresponsible and dangerous spending.
When the Democrat spending plan is analyzed, these things are clear:
PROPERTY TAXES WILL GO UP
THE ONE-YEAR BUDGET IS AN UNPRECEDENTED CHANGE
THERE IS NOT ENOUGH TRANSPARENCY
OUTSIDE SPENDING IS NOT ACCOUNTED FOR
House Democrats appropriated only $1 to account for all outside spending bills. But so far this session, they have passed out of committee legislation that spends more than $56 million and cuts state revenue by more than $125 million. And that is for fiscal year 2010 alone.
THERE IS TOO MUCH SPENDING; IT RAIDS RESERVES
IT ELIMINATES TAXPAYER PROTECTION
IT SUBSIDIZES BIG SPENDERS
IT BYPASSES REVIEW PROCESS
This one-year budget is the equivalent of a family or business living from day to day. It is bad policy for families and businesses to do that, and it is terrible policy for a state government to do that.
I could not, in good faith and good conscience, vote for this budget. The legislature owes the state and its taxpayers a higher standard. House Republican ideas were ignored. Our pleas were ignored. I think Hoosier taxpayers were ignored, and I voted "No."
This budget tells the Hoosier taxpayer, "We're from the government, and we know how to spend your money better than you, so hand it over and trust us. We'll be back again next year to let you know how much more we need."
I had to say "No" to that.
For months, you have heard me pledge to work for an honestly balanced budget with no gimmicks and no general tax increases. My colleagues on the other side of the aisle have clearly rejected that philosophy and have forged ahead with their own plan to outspend the state's income, ravage the state's reserves and drain the checkbooks of Hoosier taxpayers.
That is why I gave this budget the vote it deserves.