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STATEHOUSE –House Bill (HB) 1001, the biennial budget, passed today with a 68-28 vote. Representative Kathy Heuer (R-Columbia City) supported the budget that is authored by Ways and Means Committee Chairman Tim Brown (R-Crawfordsville). The House’s budget protects Hoosier taxpayers, preserves and enhances vital services and maintains the stable fiscal environment necessary to grow the Hoosier economy.
The highest ranking budget goal came in the form of an investment in the future generations of the state – an investment in education. The budget provides the framework for funding from early education, with a preschool pilot program for low-income Hoosiers, all the way through to the collegiate level and continues by supporting employment training.
“At the core of building a promising future for Indiana are our children,” said Rep. Heuer. “Building a strong educational foundation is crucial in equipping our young Hoosiers with the tools and knowledge to ensure a promising future.”
The budget calls for K-12 school funding to increase over the biennium by $354 million. Tuition support and full day kindergarten will see increases in funding by $130 million in 2014 with an additional $65 million in 2015. The budget also aims to reward our educational institutions for positive results, granting an additional $16.7 million in 2015 to be distributed based on performance.
Indiana’s higher education institutions will also see increased funding over the biennium. The budget adopts the Commission on Higher Education’s recommended funding levels and performance funding formula, resulting in an increase of $42.2 million over the biennium. It grants $5 million per year from the 21 Fund to support promising university research projects. Cash funding will be provided for nine new university capital projects, an investment of $197 million in new infrastructure without adding a penny of debt, saving taxpayers millions of dollars in interest over the next several decades.
“Perhaps, most importantly, as we continue to grow out of the recession, the 2014-2015 budget aims to provide students with expanded opportunities for financial aid in higher education,” said Rep. Heuer.
Frank O’Bannon Scholarships will receive additional funding to raise individual awards up to 5 percent. Additional funding will also be provided to 21st Century Scholars, National Guard Scholarships and all other student financial aid programs at CHE-recommended levels.
“While the budget lends generous contributions to our education system, it holds firm to the General Assembly’s unwavering and proven commitment to fiscal integrity,” said Rep. Heuer. “We’ve built a budget around conservative spending that boasts a healthy reserve of cash to fall back on in the event of another national recession, without sacrificing needed services in our communities. The budget embodies a plan that promises a thriving economic future for Hoosiers through investments to boost the Hoosier economy, protect taxpayers, build and maintain infrastructure and invest in a world-class education for future generations.”