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Indiana senators approve state fair, education money

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State senators allocated more state money for victims of the Indiana State Fair stage collapse and full-day kindergarten as part of a broad spending plan approved Wednesday.

The Senate voted 44-6 to approve the measure, which also reworks the state's automatic taxpayer refund to require the state save more money before refunds begin going to taxpayers. The bill now heads to a conference committee to work out differences with House lawmakers.

The measure gives an additional $6 million to victims of the stage collapse last summer. Seven people died and 58 were injured when a stage at the state fair collapsed. The state has already paid out $5 million from an existing fund to cover lawsuits, but state lawmakers agreed that the victims — who were still left paying many medical expenses out of pocket — needed more money.

The spending package approved Wednesday also allots $80 million for school systems to implement full-day kindergarten. As it stands the state sends grants to schools covering roughly half of the cost to begin full-day kindergarten.

Lawmakers began working on the spending package after the state found $320 million it mistakenly left in an untapped state account last December. Daniels spokeswoman Jane Jankowski would only say the governor is tracking the bill's progress.

The plan would increase the threshold before state reserves are sent to taxpayers. As it stands, when the state socks away an amount in savings equal to 10 percent of the state's general spending it automatically returns half of everything above that amount to taxpayers and sends the other half to a teacher pension fund to pay down the state's massive pension liabilities for teachers hired before 1996.

The Senate plan would increase the trigger from 10 percent to 14 percent of general spending. It would also mandate that the state teacher pension liability be paid down first, up to a certain amount, before taxpayers begin receiving refunds.

The plan would also change how the money is sent back to taxpayers. Daniels' plan returns the money proportional to how much state tax was paid, but the Senate measure makes it an equal amount for each taxpayer.

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  1. The Walgreens did not get a lot of traffic. It was not located on the corner of the intersection, and not really visible from Emerson. Meanwhile the CVS there is huge and right on the corner. I am guessing a lot of people drove by a million times and never knew the Walgreens was there. Although, with the new Walmart market going in, that area could really see a lot of increase in traffic soon.

  2. You folks don't have a clue. There is a legal way to enter this country and to get aid. This left unchecked could run us to ruin quickly. I also heard that 'supporters' were getting major $$ to take them in? Who's monitoring this and guess who pays the bill? I support charitable organizations... but this is NOT the way to do it!

  3. Apparently at some time before alcohol has been served at the fair. The problem is that beer or wine used to be a common drink for people before soft drinks and was not thought to be that unusual. Since many folks now only drink to see how much they can drink or what kind of condition they can end up in it becomes more problematic. Go to Europe and its no big deal just as if you had sodas of milk to drink everyday. Its using common sense that is lacking now days.

  4. To address the epic failure of attracting race fans to both the Indy 500 and Brickyard 400 would take too much of my time to write. Bottom line Boles is clueless and obviously totally out of touch with the real paying fan base. I see nothing but death spin coming for the Brickyard, just like Indy. Get somebody in a place of power that understands what race fans want.

  5. I am a race fan through & through. It doesn't matter if it's Indy cars or Nascar. I love a great race. I go to several other tracks each year and you can see the entire track. I know Indy has tradition, but fans want to see the entire race. I sit in the Penthouse, am almost 60 years old, and would like to see a better TV screen in turn 1 so you can see the entire race. Then I think Indy needs to install an escalator so us old folks can make it up to the Penthouse and down again if we want more options to purchase food and drinks. Just a race fans opinion. Lights won't make the race any better, but you might be able to see the TV better at night. Turn 1's screen needs replaced with a better and bigger screen.

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