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Government

IN legislative leaders reach budget deal

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Brandon Smith
/
Indiana Public Broadcasting

House and Senate leaders say they’ve reached an agreement on the final two year budget.  They say it includes significant increases for education and roads funding.

Though the budget isn’t expected to officially pass until late Friday, House and Senate fiscal leaders have hammered out a deal that includes more than $300 million in funding increases for K through 12 education.  House Speaker Brian Bosma (R-Indianapolis) says the budget goes beyond the goal of restoring education funding to pre-recession levels.

“We’re not only restoring to those levels but we’re adding to that for public schools.  So they’ll see an increase over what they saw at the highest level.  This will be the most money appropriated for public schools in state history.”

The budget contains $215 million per year in new roads funding.  Senate Appropriations Chair Luke Kenley (R-Noblesville) says he’s pleased the House and the governor have bought into his roads funding plan, which also includes $200 million a year for the Major Moves 2020 fund.

“And that’s part of our plan for the future idea, that it’s our major arterials like I-69, I-65 north to south all the way six lanes, I-70 east to west, those types of activities.”

The leaders reached an agreement with Governor Mike Pence on a tax cut package too. The original House Republican budget contained none of Pence’s proposed 10% income tax cut.  The Senate budget included a 3% cut.  Bosma says the final budget will include a 5% cut, phased in over three years.  The budget will also eliminate the state’s inheritance tax and continue a reduction in the corporate tax rate. 

In a statement, Pence called the tax cut package a “great victory” for taxpayers, saying it will give a much needed boost to working families, small businesses and family farms. 

Bosma says he expects minor revisions to the budget before the legislature sends it to the governor Friday.

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