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Pence Signs $31 Billion Two-Year Budget Into Law

Brandon Smith

Indiana’s new budget is officially law as Gov. Mike Pence signed it Thursday.

Pence hails the state’s two-year, $31 billion spending plan as something “every Hoosier can be proud of.”

The governor signed the budget in front of a sea of students at an elementary school in Lebanon, Ind., highlighting the largest funding increase for K–12 schools in state history.

Yet at 2.3 percent growth each year, that increase only keeps pace with inflation. Still, Pence calls it a historic achievement.

“Remember, it’s not just about the money,” Pence says. “What I’m most encouraged about is the way that we’re making sure the dollars more accurately follow the child so that dollars are getting to schools are populations change.”

The budget keeps about 12 percent of state revenues in reserve, much less than the governor’s budget proposal. Pence says he consulted closely with lawmakers and national experts about it.

“We’re very confident that by maintaining roughly 12 percent reserves that Indiana will maintain our triple-A bond rating and be one of the few states in the country that has a top bond rating from all of the major credit rating agencies,” the governor says.

Democrats, critical of the budget, point to losses for urban and some rural schools in the new school funding formula.

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.
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