STATEHOUSE – Last week the House Ways and Means committee released the Indiana 2014-2015 state budget. The bill, House Bill (HB) 1001, was discussed on the House floor today. Focusing on protecting Hoosier taxpayers, prioritizing education funding and improving state infrastructure, the proposed budget aims to capitalize on gains of recent years.
“A lot of hard work has gone into this budget already, and I am pleased with the priorities the House is putting in place,” said Rep. Ubelhor (R-Bloomfield). “K-12 education funds will receive some much-needed restoration since taking drastic cuts in the recession. We will also be putting $250 million more per year back into our roads and bridges, which is critical since our funds from 2005’s Major Moves Initiative are depleted.”
The agenda this year has focused on job creation and education – K-12 and higher. Schools will see a boost of $344 million in additional funding. It will support tuition for full-day kindergarten programs and a pilot program for low-income students to attend preschool. The increased funding will also help dropout prevention programs and will aid in the placement of STEM teachers (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics).
Indiana is known as the crossroads of America, and in living up to that name the state budget will increase roads and bridges maintenance funding by $250 million per year. Twenty percent of the state sales tax on gas would directly go to the Motor Vehicle Highway Account (MVHA).
“As a member of the House Ways and Means Committee, I can attest to the many difficult and complicated decisions that members of the committee have made,” said Rep. Ubelhor. “Many worthwhile and innovative ideas were discussed. However, limited funds required us to stick with priorities that we agreed were the best for Hoosiers, and our current proposed budget reflects those priorities. This process is not complete, and discussions will continue in all areas, including the governor’s proposed 10 percent tax cut.”