2015 Indiana Budget

Ivy Tech

The Indiana General Assembly allocated nearly $2 billion for the state’s colleges in this year's budget – including money for new building projects. The only institution that didn’t receive funding for one of those projects is Ivy Tech Community College.    

​Senator Luke Kenley (R-Noblesville) was one of the architects of that $31 billion budget Gov. Mike Pence signed into law. As he was reviewing requests from the state’s colleges for more than $761 million in capital projects, there was a phone call.

Rachel Morello / StateImpact Indiana

Like many families, Indiana schools have to budget their expenses.

Instead of setting aside money for groceries, they budget for student lunches. In place of a mortgage, schools have to pay to upkeep their facilities.

But a school district rarely has a stable income. It depends on a lot of changing factors – like the number of students enrolled each year, whether voters approve a referendum agreeing to pay extra taxes, or how the state legislature decides to calculate state funding.

Brandon Smith / http://indianapublicmedia.org/news/

Indiana’s new budget is officially law as Gov. Mike Pence signed it Thursday.

Pence hails the state’s two-year, $31 billion spending plan as something “every Hoosier can be proud of.”

The governor signed the budget in front of a sea of students at an elementary school in Lebanon, Ind., highlighting the largest funding increase for K–12 schools in state history.

Yet at 2.3 percent growth each year, that increase only keeps pace with inflation. Still, Pence calls it a historic achievement.

Indiana Department of Administration

Governor Pence says the Indiana Economic Development Corporation has spent months traveling around the country, talking to leaders in areas that adopted a regional economic development approach.  And he says the IEDC will be spreading the lessons learned from those talks across Indiana as the Regional Cities Initiative is rolled out. 

While the program will force regions to compete for relatively limited dollars, Pence says his hope is that it also helps end some competition:

Jim Grey / https://www.flickr.com/photos/mobilene/

The budget deal announced last night isn‘t final yet. Governor Pence spent about 40 minutes behind closed doors with House and Senate leaders and legislative and administration fiscal analysts today working out the final numbers.

House Speaker Brian Bosma (R-Indianapolis) says the last-minute snags aren‘t significant -- he says there will be changes to what he calls "limitations and line items" that came to light after the administration and other stakeholders were able to read through the entire 250-page document. He says the broad outlines of the bill will remain the same.

Lawmakers Could Finish Budget Deal Today

Apr 28, 2015
Jim Nix / https://www.flickr.com/photos/jimnix/5039079018

The specifics of a new state budget are expected today. House and Senate leaders have pledged to give legislators 24 hours to look over the budget before a vote.

With the session required to end tomorrow, that makes today the deadline, and House Speaker Brian Bosma says he expects a bill to be made public this afternoon.

The House and Senate proposed about the same total spending, but had slightly different school funding formulas. And Bosma says he’s still looking for more money for charter schools.

Indiana Economic Development Corporation

Legislative leaders say an aggressive push by the Indiana Economic Development Corporation likely won’t influence final negotiations over how much money to put into the governor’s Regional Cities Initiative. 

The governor’s proposed budget puts $42 million a year towards the IEDC project.  The House and Senate scaled that back to $10 million a year. 

As the session nears its end, the IEDC is strongly urging lawmakers to pump more money into the initiative. 

Keith Cooper / https://www.flickr.com/photos/cooperweb/8363160192

With only three days left in session, lawmakers are crafting a final version of the budget, and doing so with less money than they’d planned. 

Senate Leader David Long (R-Fort Wayne) and House Speaker Brian Bosma (R-Indianapolis) both say money for K-12 education is safe – the $466 million increase in both House and Senate budgets will remain intact. 

And Long says they’re standing firm on maintaining a strong budget reserve.

“I think it’s important to do that given our recent memories of how tough it was when the recession hit,” Long says.

ISTEP To Be Studied, Rather Than Replaced In Budget

Apr 22, 2015
Melanie Holtsman / https://www.flickr.com/photos/holtsman/4331034955/

The ISTEP exam will survive another year, after a legislative flirtation with replacing it.

The Senate twice passed bills to get rid of ISTEP in favor of a shorter and cheaper national test, amid estimates, since scaled back, that a revised ISTEP would cost $67 million a year. The legislation appeared to gain momentum in February with the announcement that this year‘s test would take 12 hours.

Senate Budget To Follow House, Increase School Funding

Feb 25, 2015
Noah Coffey / https://www.flickr.com/photos/noahwesley/

Senate President Pro Tem David Long says the Senate’s version of the budget will follow the House’s lead in steering more money to schools.

House Republicans’ budget gives schools a nearly half-billion-dollar increase over two years, double what Governor Pence proposed.

Long (R-Fort Wayne) suggests the governor lowballed the figure to give legislators room to increase it. Long says legislators will give schools as much as they can while keeping the budget balanced.

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