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Bosma: $400M for roads, $15M for preschool program

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 Indiana would spend heavily on new road construction and launch a preschool pilot program under a pair of last-minute deals that Statehouse Republican leaders reached Wednesday.

The state would release $400 million in two disbursements of $200 million, with the second pending a review by budget leaders before the 2015 session begins. And the state would rely on $10 million in funding saved in part through budget cuts and $5 million in private donations to launch a preschool program for low-income residents.

Republican House Speaker Brian Bosma said Wednesday night that legislative leaders had agreed on the compromises with Gov. Mike Pence. The deals come as lawmakers get down to the wire on their self-imposed Thursday deadline for the 2014 session.

The announcement follows weeks of brinksmanship between House leaders who first proposed the spending and Senate Republicans who have raised concerns about the state's budgeting and tax collections.

"The Senate was very creative and cooperative in helping us address some of their issues that they had about the program, and we just were persistent on it and stuck with it and kept providing solutions to the questions," Bosma told The Associated Press.

The deals effectively tie up the last few major items of the 2014 session. House and Senate fiscal leaders announced Tuesday they had reached a deal to cut the state's corporate and financial institutions taxes and let counties decide whether to cut business equipment taxes.

The road funding, preschool program and business tax cut were all sought by Pence, although he kept his distance in Statehouse negotiations. The deals appear likely to hand the governor a series of modest victories to walk away from the 2014 session with, but not quite everything he originally sought when the session opened in January.

Bosma said he believes the state could use the $400 million to leverage up to $2.4 billion for road expansions — including additional lanes for Interstates 65, 69 and 70 — through federal dollars. The first $200 million would be released to the Indiana Department of Transportation immediately, but the second disbursement would fall sometime between Dec. 15 and January 15, and be approved pending the results of a crucial update of the state's finances.

The preschool pilot would be used to send low-income children in five counties to early childhood programs.

The state would kick in $10 million through a mix of money saved through budget cuts and federal dollars, and be matched with $5 million in private-side donations for the program. Families earning up to 127 percent of the federal poverty level — a little less than $30,000 for a family of four — would qualify for the pilot program.

Bosma was visibly happy as he walked off the House dais Wednesday night: "It's going to be a bang-up session."

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  • kindergarten
    is still not required under Indiana law. Go figure.
  • New Roads?
    Perhaps IBJ could investigate how the state allocates funds towards existing road maintenance versus new road construction. Spending $400M on new road construction when we can't maintain existing road infrastructure is illogical.
  • Priorities
    The headline tells you everything you need to know.
  • Misguided
    A local community wants to chose whether or not to raise their own taxes to fund additional transportation options? We better beat that up at the state level and restrict what professionals can decide the best mode would be. The state wants to expand on a system they can't maintain currently? We better give them an additional allocation of $400 MILLION with no strings attached because professionals should decide how its spent.........

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  1. In reality, Lilly is maintaining profit by cutting costs such as Indiana/US citizen IT workers by a significant amount with their Tata Indian consulting connection, increasing Indian H1B's at Lillys Indiana locations significantly and offshoring to India high paying Indiana jobs to cut costs and increase profit at the expense of U.S. workers.

  2. I think perhaps there is legal precedence here in that the laws were intended for family farms, not pig processing plants on a huge scale. There has to be a way to squash this judges judgment and overrule her dumb judgement. Perhaps she should be required to live in one of those neighbors houses for a month next to the farm to see how she likes it. She is there to protect the people, not the corporations.

  3. http://www.omafra.gov.on.ca/english/engineer/facts/03-111.htm Corporate farms are not farms, they are indeed factories on a huge scale. The amount of waste and unhealthy smells are environmentally unsafe. If they want to do this, they should be forced to buy a boundary around their farm at a premium price to the homeowners and landowners that have to eat, sleep, and live in a cesspool of pig smells. Imagine living in a house that smells like a restroom all the time. Does the state really believe they should take the side of these corporate farms and not protect Indiana citizens. Perhaps justifiable they should force all the management of the farms to live on the farm itself and not live probably far away from there. Would be interesting to investigate the housing locations of those working at and managing the corporate farms.

  4. downtown in the same area as O'malia's. 350 E New York. Not sure that another one could survive. I agree a Target is needed d'town. Downtown Philly even had a 3 story Kmart for its downtown residents.

  5. Indy-area residents... most of you have no idea how AMAZING Aurelio's is. South of Chicago was a cool pizza place... but it pales in comparison to the heavenly thin crust Aurelio's pizza. Their deep dish is pretty good too. My waistline is expanding just thinking about this!

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