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IN House GOP budget passes first vote

Indiana’s budget bill is headed to the House floor after undergoing a minor makeover in the Ways and Means committee Tuesday.

The panel considered majority and minority party amendments, making several small changes.  Those include $7 million more in K through 12 education funding to fix an error in the formula and more money for the state’s Clean Water program.  The committee voted 15 to 7 to pass the budget, with seven Democrats on Ways and Means voting against it.

Terry Goodin (D-Austin) expressed appreciation with Ways and Means Chairman Tim Brown’s willingness to listen to the minority party but says the budget still needs tweaks.

“This is the first step; this is first base.  This is a work in progress and I know that with your demeanor you will listen to us as we move forward.  And we’ll make this peach grow fuzz; we’ll make it work for us.”

Representative Randy Truitt (R-West Lafayette), who also serves on the committee, says public education will see increases of a little more than 3% under the proposal.

"You look at the priorities of what we all tried to focus on and put into the budget in regards to the economy and education, and I think the budget clearly shows the commitment in those two areas."

He says the House GOP spending plan would end 2015 with a general fund reserve of about $2 billion. However, Truitt says many changes could still take place as the full House and Senate take up the bill, and the outcome of the April revenue forecast. House Democrats have pledged to call for an up or down vote on including Governor Mike Pence’s 10% income tax cut in the bill.

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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