Governor Pence calls Senate committee’s 2-year budget a good start

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The Indiana Senate budget proposal unveiled Thursday includes an income tax cut smaller than what Governor Mike Pence had long suggested, but he called the 2- year, $29.5 billion version a good start.

“Permanent, across the board tax relief needs to be a part of the equation to encourage job creation and growth across Indiana,” said Governor Pence.

Pence had pushed for a 10 percent  reduction in the personal income tax rate, but state senators agreed to a 3 percent reduction instead. The rate would sit at 3.3 percent and create an annual savings of $150 million.

“Giving your average person a $50 tax cut, that’s less than $1 a week with the return in their pocket. That’s not going to do anything. Certainly, it’s not going to create jobs,” said State Senator Tim Lanane, D- Anderson.

Sen. Lanane also expressed serious concerns about the suggested K through 12 education funding in the Senate committee’s version of the budget.

“We think that it’s crucial that there be a full restoration of the $327 million that was taken during the Daniels’ years,” said Lanane.

Those fully behind the Republican plan are optimistic about the increase in K through 12 education funding. They are convinced the suggested programs and policies will send a strong message to schools about what is expected.

“We have a reward for performance, both on raw performance and on growth, and we give extra funds for graduation rates on non-waivers,” said Sen. Luke Kenley, chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee.

Also included in the budget proposal are increases in funding to the Department of Child Services, roads and infrastructure. A suggested $200 million could go to major road projects each year through 2020.

“We’re very much of the mind that roads mean jobs,” said Governor Pence.

The budget is expected to clear the full Senate this week.