[r82] Chairman Espich Moves Fiscally-Sound Budget to Senate (3/30/2011)

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Start Date: 3/30/2011 All Day
End Date: 3/30/2011

House Ways and Means Chairman Jeff Espich (R-Uniondale) passed his $27.9 billion, two-year budget bill out of the House today with a 60-37 vote.

"We have been diligent throughout this process to create a balanced budget that, most importantly, does not include tax increases on already struggling Hoosier families," said Chairman Espich.

"House Bill 1001 protects Hoosier taxpayers, preserves vital services and allows Indiana to maintain the stable and sound fiscal environment, which is necessary to create more Hoosier jobs."

Below are highlights included in House Bill 1001, the state budget bill:

¨ Appropriations for state agencies: Most appropriations are 15 percent below their appropriations in Fiscal Year (FY) 2011; the main exceptions include Medicaid, Indiana Comprehensive Health Insurance Association and pensions.

¨ K-12 Education Funding: It preserves current statewide tuition support funding for K-12 schools for both 2012 and 2013. The budget funds most Department of Education's grant programs that are related to student instruction, including full-day kindergarten and textbook reimbursements. It does eliminate extra grants for small schools, restoration grants and ensures funding reflects enrollment.

"We have pushed for years to even out the disparities between schools that get too much per-pupil funding and the schools that get too low of an amount," said Chairman Espich. "In addition, the money needs to follow the student-we shouldn't be funding a ghost child during this economy."

The budget also aims to move each school district toward its target amount of per-pupil funding. Most districts are currently above their target amounts.

¨ Higher Education Funding: The budget does not authorize any new capital projects or fund any repair/rehabilitation projects in favor of restoring the three percent operation reduction. The budget also limits tuition hikes on Hoosier college students by allowing the Commission for Higher Education to set binding tuition increase targets.

¨ Family and Social Services Administration (FSSA) and Medicaid: Fully funds Medicaid forecast-assuming FSSA's estimated administrative savings targets will be met. Restores funding for CHOICE in FY1013 and allows FSSA to direct more resources to the Aged and Disabled (A&D) Waiver program.

¨ Department of Child Services: Fully funds Department of Child Services' requested budget, which was lower than their 2011 appropriations.

¨ Pensions: Fully funds Actuarial Required Contributions (ARC) for all state pension obligations.

The budget will now head to the Senate Appropriations Committee for further consideration.

"The budget could very well change in the Senate, and especially when we receive another revenue forecast in April. That report will be very telling to us," said Chairman Espich.