Tallian: Biennial budget offers tepid plan forward

INDIANAPOLIS – State Senator Karen Tallian (D-Portage) issued the following statement after the presentation of Governor Holcomb’s biennial budget request by his staff, to the State Budget Committee.

 “I look forward to working with legislative leaders and Governor Holcomb to make improvements to the budget that was presented this morning.

“Forever an optimist, I am pleased to see some provisions in this request. Increases in pay for Indiana State Police officers are overdue, and will be funded over the next four years. New state investments in our bio-sciences industry will continue to yield great results.

“Lastly, I am excited to see continued investment in the South Shore rail line as an economic development tool for Northwest Indiana.

“Anyone familiar with this process knows that this presentation is only the beginning. I look forward to working with colleagues throughout this process.

“However, this budget does not appropriately address several key issues: transportation, proper funding for K-12 education, and the expansion of the existing pre-kindergarten program. The state budget acts as a list of priorities for our state, and I am disappointed that these priorities have not received proper attention in the budget request.

“The request gives lip service to transportation funding for new constructions and repairs, but the language of the request offers no viable plan and a lack of leadership from the new Governor.

“State revenues are forecasted to grow 2.9 percent in 2018 and 3.9 percent in 2019. Public education funding will only receive small increases in funding; a one-percent increase in funding in the first year of the budget and a two-percent increase in the second year. State funding for education does not keep up with the forecast and shows a lack of priority on education funding.

“The pre-kindergarten program that exists in only five Indiana counties will receive more money, but the benefits of this program will remain available in those five counties, leaving the vast majority of Hoosiers without pre-kindergarten options.”

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