As the first half of the legislative session winds down, it is important to keep up-to-date on the status of the state’s biennial budget. The House of Representatives recently approved a balanced budget proposal, which we are required to approve every two years. The fiscally responsible budget that the House passed will ensure that the state continues to operate within its means while making more investments in important services like education, public safety and workforce development.
The $31 billion state biennial budget provides the fiscal blueprint for state operations in 2018 and 2019. General fund appropriations include K-12 education, higher education, Medicaid, health and human services, general government, corrections, public safety and capital projects.
Just as we did in our last two biennial budgets, the House Republican proposal increases K-12 funding. Base per-student funding, also known as ‘foundation’ in the state’s school funding formula, would be increased by 4.7 percent over the next two years. It also provides modest funding increases for higher education.
Our budget proposal also reflects our commitment to those who protect Hoosiers each and every day. It provides for an increase in Indiana State Police salaries, which have not kept up with the compensation of municipalities and other states. While House members debated the budget, I spoke on the House floor on behalf of an amendment I filed that would include Indiana conservation officers in the salary increase. The importance they play in the service and protection of rural counties cannot be overstated. This is true for our area where conservation officers might be the first to respond to emergency calls. The amendment, which was unanimously passed, will ensure that conservation officers will get the same salary increases as State Police during this budget. Our budget also significantly increases the state income tax exemption for military pensions and military family survivor benefits.
Now that the budget has passed out of the House, the Senate will consider it. I will continue to provide updates as it moves through the legislative process. Balancing our budget, just as all Hoosiers have to, is crucial and our plan does just that.
As we continue our work during this year’s budget session, I encourage you to contact me with any questions or input at 317-232-9793 or by email at email@example.com. Learn more about the work being done at the Statehouse by signing up to receive my email updates at www.in.gov/h74.
State Rep. Lloyd Arnold (R-Leavenworth) represents House District 74, which includes portions of Spencer, Dubois, Perry, Crawford and Orange counties.
A high-resolution photo of Arnold can be downloaded by clicking here.