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Indiana House backs GOP state budget plan

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The Indiana House on Wednesday night approved a new state budget plan that that would keep overall education funding at current levels while shifting more money to growing suburban school districts.

House members voted 60-37 on party lines to advance the $28 billion, two-year spending plan that was stalled during the five-week boycott by Democrats. It now goes to the Senate for consideration.

Ways and Means Committee Chairman Jeff Espich, R-Uniondale, told the House that the budget plan was responsible and prudent with no tax increases. Nearly half of the state spending would go toward K-12 education, but school funding of about $450 million, or about 3 percent, ordered by Republican Gov. Mitch Daniels over the past two years would not be restored.

"I'm not particularly happy about that, but that's all we have," Espich said.

The school funding distribution formula in the plan pays schools only for students actually enrolled, eliminating the phase-out of funding shrinking districts currently receive to help ease their financial losses.

That change would result in funding cuts of more than 5 percent for 40 of the state's nearly 300 school districts. The cuts would largely fall on urban and rural districts, with additional money going to suburban schools.

"It is the simplest, fairest school formula ever presented to the General Assembly," Espich said.

Rep. William Crawford of Indianapolis, the top Democrat on the Ways and Means Committee, said he expected many school districts would end up asking voters to approve property tax increases through referendums because of the funding limitations.

"I think they'll have no option," Crawford said.

Republicans had turned down numerous budget changes proposed by Democrats during debate on Tuesday, including requests for more money toward education and mass transit.

The Senate's Appropriations Committee took the unusual step of starting budget hearings before the House passed a spending plan because of the Democratic boycott. The Democrats didn't raise many objections to the budget during their walkout, and the boycott wasn't raised during the floor debate.

The budget plan approved Wednesday also:

— Keeps operating funding flat for colleges and universities, while the governor had proposed a 3 percent cut. But the House plan does not fund any repair projects or authorize any new capital projects for universities.

— Maintains current funding most state agencies and programs after those agencies had faced cuts of 15 percent or more ordered by Daniels from the budget approved in 2009.

— Temporarily suspends pay raises for state legislators, judges and prosecutors.

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  • More for Franklin Twp?
    "...new state budget plan that that would keep overall education funding at current levels while shifting more money to growing suburban school districts." "The school funding distribution formula in the plan pays schools only for students actually enrolled..." Does this mean Franklin Township will now get more money from the state, easing budget concerns? Sure does sound like it.
  • don't understand
    Cut/cut/cut but when will the legislators cut their oen benefits/cut the governors "perks" Self-serving Bums!!!!!!

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  1. So much for Eric Holder's conversation about race. If white people have got something to say, they get sued over it. Bottom line: white people have un-freer speech than others as a consequence of the misnamed "Civil rights laws."

  2. I agree, having seen three shows, that I was less than wowed. Disappointing!!

  3. Start drilling, start fracking, and start using our own energy. Other states have enriched their citizens and nearly elminated unemployment by using these resources that are on private land. If you are against the 'low prices' of discount stores, the best way to allow shoppers more choice is to empower them with better earnings. NOT through manipulated gov mandated min wage hikes, but better jobs and higher competitive pay. This would be direct result of using our own energy resources, yet Obama knows that Americans who arent dependent of gov welfare are much less likely to vote Dem, so he looks for ways to ensure America's decline and keep its citizens dependent of gov.

  4. Say It Loud, I'm Black and Ashamed: It's too bad that with certain "black" entertainment events, it seems violence and thuggery follows and the collateral damage that it leaves behinds continues to be a strain on the city in terms of people getting hurt, killed or becoming victims of crimes and/or stretching city resources. I remember shopping in the Meadows area years ago until violence and crime ended make most of the business pack you and leave as did with Lafayette Square and Washington Square. Over the past 10 to 12 years, I remember going to the Indiana Black Expo Soul Picnic in Washington Park. Violence, gang fights and homicides ended that. My great grandmother still bears the scares on her leg from when she was trampled by a group of thugs running from gun fire from a rival gang. With hundreds of police offices downtown still multiple shootings, people getting shot downtown during Black Expo. A number of people getting shots or murdered at black clubs around the city like Club Six on the west side, The Industry downtown, Jamal Tinsley's shot out in front of the Conrad, multiple fights and shootings at the skating rinks, shootings at Circle Center Mall and shooting and robberies and car jackings at Lafayette Mall. Shootings and gang violence and the State Fair. I can go on and on and on. Now Broad Ripple. (Shaking head side to side) Say It Loud, I'm Black and I'm Ashamed.

  5. Ballard Administration. Too funny. This is the least fiscally responsive administration I have ever seen. One thing this article failed to mention, is that the Hoosier State line delivers rail cars to the Amtrak Beech Grove maintenance facility for refurbishment. That's an economic development issue. And the jobs there are high-paying. That alone is worth the City's investment.

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