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GOP Lawmakers May Look To Curtail Governor's Budget-cutting Power

Brandon Smith
Indiana Public Broadcasting

The power of the governor to cut state funding or require agencies to send money back to the general fund could be reigned in when the General Assembly meets next session.

For years state agencies have been required to revert some of their budgets to the General Fund – essentially, cut a certain percentage of what the legislature appropriates. 

In the last fiscal year, Governor Mike Pence ordered a greater reversion from state agencies than originally planned and asked colleges and universities to cut their budgets in response to struggling revenues.  Pence is asking for those same cuts again this year.

Lawmakers expressed frustration after essentially negotiating a deal with higher ed institutions to hold off on tuition increases in exchange for an increase in state dollars.  Speaker Brian Bosma (R-Indianapolis) says next session will include talks about that issue.

“We have had some discussions about the appropriateness of reversions and blanket reversions or should they be targeted,” Bosma says.

But Governor Mike Pence says the power of reversions is a vital tool.

“The authority that this office has in that regard I think is widely understood, across the political spectrum, as an important part of why Indiana in the last decade has been able to put our fiscal house in order and keep our fiscal house in order even during very uncertain economic times,” Pence says.

The legislative session gets underway in January. 

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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