Regional Cities Fund Bill Stalls In House
Full funding for all three winners of Indiana’s Regional Cities Initiative is in jeopardy after Speaker Brian Bosma (R-Indianapolis) said Thursday a bill to provide those dollars is stalled in the House.
The legislature last year set aside $84 million from the state’s 2015 tax amnesty program to pay for the Regional Cities Initiative. The money was meant to be split in half, with $42 million going to each winner.
But in December, the Pence administration chose three winners and the governor declared his intention to get an extra $42 million from the legislature to fully fund all three. While a bill to do so easily cleared the Senate, Speaker Brian Bosma says there isn’t enough support for it in the House Ways and Means Committee.
“We struck a deal last year and those who object to it, that’s what they’re saying – we set it in statute, that’s what it was; the administration did more, they should be held to the statute,” Bosma says.
Bosma suggests packaging that bill with other incentives could make its passage easier – for example, the House Republican road funding plan and its tax increases, which Senate lawmakers aren’t supporting.
Senate GOP Leader David Long (R-Fort Wayne) says he doesn’t think that kind of deal-making is necessary.
“The Regional Cities plan, I think, is strong enough to stand on its own and I think in the end it will,” Long says. “But we’ll have to keep talking.”
Long says, if necessary, his caucus will include Regional Cities funding in a bill currently in the Senate if House lawmakers don’t advance the measure.
The three winning regions are northeast, north central and southwest Indiana.