Rep. Arnold: Strengthening our commitment to fiscal integrity

Posted by: Peter Hoffman  | Monday, May 15, 2017

When Indiana lawmakers meet during a budget session, it’s important that we invest in our priorities like education and public safety while ensuring we don’t spend more money than we take in. This session, we passed an honestly balanced budget, which funds state operations including education, public safety, veteran’s programs, substance abuse prevention and workforce development over the next two years.

More than half of Indiana’s $32 billion biennial budget is dedicated to education and we included substantial increases to the base funding for each K-12 student. Overall, it will increase tuition support for schools throughout the state by $345 million over the next two years. We also enacted modest increases for higher education. Supporting Hoosier educators and students in bipartisan ways is crucial to the future of our state. Another new law expands opportunities to students in small, rural and urban schools to access advanced courses, such as advanced STEM subjects, and trade programs.

To reinforce our support for public safety, Indiana’s state law enforcement officers will receive a 24-percent pay increase over the next two years. Due to an amendment I filed, our state's conservation officers will be included in this salary increase. In rural areas like ours, these officers are often the first responders on scene to serve and protect. It was important we included these dedicated public servants in the pay raise. The budget also provides increased funding to support veteran service organizations and homeless veterans. Additionally, the state income tax deduction for military pensions was increased to help those who have selflessly defended our nation.

Indiana has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the nation at 3.9 percent. Even with near full employment, nearly 30,000 job positions remain unfilled in our state. To help close the skills gap and fill these openings, we created Workforce Ready Grants to help cover any remaining tuition and fees for working-age adults seeking certifications in high-wage fields after they receive any state and federal assistance. We also passed legislation aligning all of Indiana’s career and technical education programs with current and future employer needs. Good skills will keep jobs in Indiana and incentivize new employers to come to our state.

The state’s two-year budget that was passed this session reflects our commitment to preserving Indiana’s reputation as a fiscal role model for the rest of the nation and lays the groundwork for continued growth in the future.

I encourage you to contact me with any questions or input at 317-232-9793 or by email at h74@iga.in.gov. Learn more about the work being done at the Statehouse by signing up to receive my email updates at www.in.gov/h74.

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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.