STATEHOUSE - Despite numerous compromises, Republican principles remain at the core of the newly adopted state budget, making it a pro-taxpayer, pro-education reform measure, state Rep. Phyllis Pond (R-New Haven) said today.
The House of Representatives approved the conference committee report on a two-year $27.9 billion budget today by a vote of 62-37, with all House Republicans supporting it. The Senate, by a 34-16 vote, approved the budget today as well.
"With the tight economic conditions, we had to craft a budget that does not spend more than the state takes in or spend all the reserves," said Rep. Pond. "This budget accomplished that.
"The state's largest and most important sources of revenue are sales and income tax," said Rep. Pond. "With state unemployment rising, both revenue sources have declined. Our state's only option was to construct a conservative budget."
The budget includes Gov. Mitch Daniels' parameters for a budget he would approve:
The new state budget also protects education and advances education reform efforts:
"All caucuses considered the advantages and disadvantages of spending and followed the governor's proposed guidelines," said Rep. Pond. "This is a two-year plan to keep Indiana from following the trend most U.S. states are following by creating a budget deficit. Hoosiers will not be taxed more, and we will protect the states vital reserves."
Rep. Jeff Espich (R-Uniondale), the ranking Republican member of the House Ways and Means Committee and the House Republican conferee on the budget conference committee, said that while the budget may not have included everything every member wanted, it is a budget that reflects the best interests of Indiana.
"This is an Indiana budget," Rep. Espich said. "Not everyone got their wishes, but, through all the discussions and hard work, the state is well-served by this budget. It does not increase taxes, the state maintains healthy reserves, and education spending is protected. Other states would love to be in our position."
The fiscal year ends today. If legislators had not passed a budget, most state agencies would have shut down Wednesday and most state workers would have been furloughed.