INDIANAPOLIS – State Senator Karen Tallian (D-Portage) released the following statement after the presentation of Governor Pence’s 2015 proposed budget before the State Budget Committee on Thursday.
“The governor had an opportunity to signal his support for working families. He could have proposed ending textbook fees or boosted funding for public schools significantly.
“Instead, he’s choosing to hold public schools hostage by redirecting tax dollars supporting public schools to private schools.
“Irresponsible is the only way to describe the governor’s fuzzy math on the cost of private school vouchers.
“The cost of vouchers exploded last session to the point where budget writers added $25 million in emergency bailout money.
“The same folks that underestimated by more than $30 million the cost of expanding voucher eligibility in 2013 now think the governor’s plan to pay full private tuition for any voucher student will only cost $3.5 million.
“Nowhere in his budget does Pence expand quality early childhood education to more Hoosier children, his highest legislative priority last session.
“The governor’s approach to spending – using the state’s new revenue to pay for cash projects – is akin to a family buying a new house and car but having nothing left to pay the bills and buy gas.
“Bond rates are at an all-time low. If we want to build, we can do it in the traditional way.
“Pence’s willingness to spend cash freely while slashing services is troubling.
“In the meantime, we need to fund textbooks, school buses, community corrections, kindergarten and snow plows.
“Make investments like hiring the 77 Department of Child Services caseworkers needed to comply with state law.”
Sen. Tallian represents Senate District 4 which encompasses portions of northern Porter County and Michigan, Coolspring and New Durham townships in LaPorte County. For more information on Sen. Tallian, her legislative agenda or other State Senate business call 1-800-382-9467 or visit www.IN.gov/s4.