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State senate takes a look at House budget

Updated: April 9, 2013 11:28AM



INDIANAPOLIS — Hearings on the House budget began in the Senate Appropriations Committee on Thursday.

The $30 billion budget, which passed the house along party lines, 67-29, would place $354 million more in education and $250 million more in transportation funding. The budget leaves out Gov. Mike Pence’s proposed 10 percent tax cut.

State Rep. Tim Brown, R-Crawfordsville, the Ways and Means Committee chairman who authored the budget, sat before the committee to explain its many facets, which include funding full-day kindergarten and an early childhood pilot program.

The budget would also fund a number of higher education projects, including a $42.2 million increase for operating expenses, and $197 million for nine university capital projects.

The budget would provide $1.9 billion in reserves for 2014 and $2.1 billion in reserves for 2015.

State Sen. Luke Kenley, chairman of the Appropriations Committee, asked Brown the philosophy behind paying down bonds and paying cash for the campus projects.

“It frees up cash flow for the future,” Brown said. “If you buy a car with a five-year loan and pay it off in three, those last two years are a lot more flexible.”

Kenley said he was concerned with the potential for pension responsibilities, and wanted to address the cost of reforming the Indiana Criminal Code.

State Sen. Karen Tallian, D-Portage, confirmed that Medicaid funds cover the costs expected, without expanding the program under the Affordable Care Act.



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