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Regional Cities Fund Bill Stalls In House

Indiana Economic Development Corporation

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.

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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