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General Assembly Passes New Biennial Budget

Noah Coffey

Republicans declared “mission accomplished” on the new budget as they brought a close to the 2015 legislative session.  

The $31-billion two-year budget creates a record-increase in K-12 education spending, allocates more money for domestic violence prevention and treatment, the Department of Child Services, and public retirees.  Senate fiscal leader Luke Kenley says the budget reserves are a little less than the 12 percent level they’d been aiming for.  And Kenley says he consulted with the governor about that, with the Noblesville Senator expressing concern about the state’s triple-A bond rating.

“And he and his advisors called New York, the Standard and Poor’s people, to see if they approved of that approach to our balance sheet," says Kenley. "And apparently they do.”

But Indianapolis Democratic Representative Greg Porter says the budget is really about missed opportunities for bipartisanship

“We wanted to eliminate the cost of textbooks for schoolchildren," says Porter. "We wanted to make college affordable and guarantee that tuition would not increase over the four year period.”

The House and Senate approved the budget bill with just minutes to spare before their midnight deadline.

Brandon Smith is excited to be working for public radio in Indiana. He has previously worked in public radio as a reporter and anchor in mid-Missouri for KBIA Radio out of Columbia. Prior to that, he worked for WSPY Radio in Plano, Illinois as a show host, reporter, producer and anchor. His first job in radio was in another state capitol, in Jefferson City, Missouri, as a reporter for three radio stations around Missouri. Brandon graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a Bachelor of Journalism in 2010, with minors in political science and history. He was born and raised in Chicago.