[r82] State Budget Advances to Governor's Desk (4/29/2011)

Friday, April 29, 2011

Start Date: 4/29/2011 All Day
End Date: 4/29/2011
STATEHOUSE-House Ways and Means Chairman Jeff Espich (R-Uniondale) and Vice Chairman Suzanne Crouch (R-Evansville) brought home a victory to taxpayers as the 2011 legislative session adjourned Sine Die shortly after passing their proposed state budget bill today.

"We committed to our promise to not raise taxes on already struggling Hoosier families, and today we delivered," said Chairman Espich. "The current economy doesn't make anything easy, but with this budget, Indiana will continue to live within its means to maintain a prudent level of reserves in order to protect taxpayers.

"Though our recent revenue reports have shown an improvement in the economy, we are still not immune to an economic decline. No one can predict the future and, therefore, having fiscally responsible reserves and a structural balance is vital to our state's future success."

House Enrolled Act 1001does not include a tax increase; provides a structural balance in both years of the biennium; maintains a prudent level of reserves to protect taxpayers; and directs more funding to K-12 education.

"We worked diligently to create a structurally sound and fiscally conservative budget that will create more gain than it will pain for Hoosiers," said Rep. Crouch. "It is important that our budget promotes our state's economic growth rather than hinder it, and the state must continue to live within its means just as Hoosier families have had to do doing during this recession.

"Indiana is unique in the fact that we have been able to balance the budget without raising taxes as many states have had to do. We are poised to continue to lead the nation out of this recession and become a more prosperous state for all Hoosiers."

Below are some additional highlights of House Enrolled Act 1001, the state budget bill:

K-12 Education Funding Formula:

¨ Increases the formula by .5 percent in 2012 and 1 percent by 2013

¨ Eliminates the de-ghoster, restoration grants and small school grants over the next two years

¨ Increases annual funding for full-day kindergarten by $23.4 million or 40 percent

¨ Provides grants to schools for performance-based awards for outstanding teachers

¨ Permits school corporations with significant revenue losses due to circuit breaker credits (exceeding

   30 percent) to restructure or extend outstanding debt

¨ Enables students who graduate early from high school to be eligible to receive a $4,000 Mitch  

    Daniels Early Graduation Scholarship

¨ Provides schools that remain in the lowest performance category for a fifth year to become a   

   turnaround academy


¨ Directs 50 percent of state reserve balances above 10 percent of appropriations to an automatic

   taxpayer refund and the other 50 percent to the Pension Stabilization Fund

Employment and Pay Issues

¨ Provides for a Thirteenth Check for retired members of the PERF, TRF and State Excise/Gaming Agent/Conservation retirement funds

¨ Provides a one percent "catch up" COLA for retired members of the 1987 State Police Retirement Program

Health Services Provisions:

¨ Maintains statutory authorizations and funding for optional Medicaid services

¨ Restores CHOICE funding to levels appropriated in the 2010-2011 budget

After the budget passes both chambers-the House and Senate-it will go to the governor's office. To view the budget bill, visit www.in.gov/legislative/house_republicans.