Senate GOP set to unveil new state budget

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E-mail from the Indiana Senate Majority Caucus:

Senate GOP Set To Unveil New State Budget
Fiscal blueprint quickly adjusted to reflect new state revenue forecast, add $150 million for K-12

(April 18, 2011) – Sen. Luke Kenley (R-Noblesville) will unveil the Senate version of the state budget today, just one business day after new revenue forecasts showed the state is expected to collect an additional $644 million over previous projections.

Senate President Pro Tem David Long (R-Fort Wayne) joined Gov. Mitch Daniels and House Speaker Brian Bosma (R-Indianapolis) on Friday to welcome the news of improving sales and income taxes due to Indiana’s recovery from the national recession. The Statehouse Republicans pledged to use $150 million of the new funds for K-12 education, including funding to complete full-day kindergarten (FDK) statewide.

Kenley, chair of the Senate Committee on Appropriations, said Senate fiscal leaders worked this weekend to update Indiana’s two-year fiscal blueprint, which he described as “frugal and forward thinking.”

In addition to fully funding FDK, $5 million to $10 million will be set aside in the Senate’s proposal so local school districts can reward their best teachers with performance-based pay increases, Kenley said.

“Given the volatility of the world situation, especially oil and gas prices, other new revenues will be set aside for outstanding state obligations and to preserve prudent levels of cash reserves,” Kenley said. “No forecaster can be certain of future fluctuations of petroleum products, leaving our fragile economic recovery in question. However, two things are certain: 1) we want to be able to pay our bills, and 2) we want to avoid raising taxes on hard-working Hoosiers in order to do it.”

Kenley said he will continue working closely with Senate Democrats and leaders in the House of Representatives in hopes of reaching a final agreement on a balanced, two-year state budget by the legislative deadline, which is April 29.

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