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Gov. Pence unveils budget proposal

Governor Mike Pence wants a one percent increase for K through 12 school funding in each of the next two years, but schools would have to earn the extra money in the second year. 

The governor’s budget includes around $190 million in additional funding for K-12 schools.  Some, like Representative Terry Goodin (D-Crothersville) says that’s not enough.

“Our public schools are the number one economic development tool in our state.  So if that’s the case, we need to fund those economic development tools properly.  One percent’s probably not going to do that.”

Goodin says school funding must include a discussion of the best way to target more money at improving education.  Pence aims to do that by creating a performance-based model for the school funding increase in the second year of his budget.

Budget Director Chris Atkins says schools would receive money based on three metrics: their school letter grade, graduation rate and percentage of students passing the state’s third grade reading assessment.

“We believe this performance-based funding – the $64 million in fiscal year ‘15 – could provide incentives to our schools to provide more high quality options for our children.”

Goodin says performance-based funding isn’t necessarily a bad idea, but adds he wants to learn more about the details before evaluating Pence’s proposal.

State lawmakers also got their first look at the governor’s 10% income tax cut. Legislators say it’s still too early to determine whether the cut will become a reality.

Senator Luke Kenley (R-Noblesville) says if the state has enough money to reduce taxes, cutting the personal income tax rate might not be the best choice.

“Some would argue that if you lower the corporate income tax a little more, closer to where the individual income tax is, you’ll draw more businesses and more jobs in Indiana.”

Atkins says the personal income tax cut can be an economic driver.

“Well, most importantly it would permanently lower taxes on most Indiana small businesses and employers and it would put $500 million directly back into our economy by letting Hoosiers keep more of their own money.”

Kenley says Pence’s proposed budget is a good baseline legislators can use to jumpstart discussion of the tax cut’s feasibility.

You can see the governor's budget proposal HERE.

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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