Senate makes few changes to proposed state budget
By Matt Mikus firstname.lastname@example.org April 8, 2013 9:40PM
Updated: May 10, 2013 6:15AM
INDIANAPOLIS — The state budget received extensive debate Monday on the Senate floor, covering subjects including health care expansion, education and tax policy, but very few changes were made.
The Senate budget would spend $29.5 billion over two years, ending with $2.5 billion in reserves, and would include a 3 percent cut to the state income tax.
It includes $112 million for state roads and $101 million for local roads, provided the local unit of government has some form of excise surtax or wheel tax. The budget also begins to fund a new Major Moves 2020 program, placing $200 million away each year.
On education funding, $331 million is earmarked for two years, a 2 percent increase in 2014 and a 1 percent increase in 2015. Funding for career and technical education is $100 million each year.
Other features of the proposed budget include $383 million for higher education capital projects, $99 million in higher education operations and placing almost $600 million in a reserve for any unforeseen costs of health care expansion.
Senate Democrats offered 18 amendments, ranging from accepting Medicaid expansion and food pantry funding to providing a cap on voucher expansion.
“These amendments are not frivolous,” Sen. Luke Kenley, R-Noblesville, said, “and I appreciate the discussion. We need to think these through for each of these areas.”
Almost all the amendments were defeated on party line votes.
The Senate will have a final vote on the budget within the next two days.