STATEHOUSE (April 27, 2013) — State Sen. Jim Banks (R-Columbia City) lauded today’s passage of a new state budget that provides hundreds of millions of dollars in tax relief to Hoosier families. The two-year fiscal plan includes a 5 percent individual income tax cut phased in from 2015 to 2017 and provides increased funding for roads, child protection, K-12 and higher education. House Bill 1001 now awaits the governor’s signature.
“This budget reflects priorities that Indiana has always championed,” Banks said. “I’m especially appreciative of the increased funding to K-12 schools and higher education, which shows we’re a state that advocates for our students. I look forward to seeing the long-term effects of this investment.”
Highlights of the honestly balanced budget include:
- Tax Relief and Job Creation:
o Cuts individual income tax rate 5 percent (3 percent cut beginning in 2015 and another 2 percent cut beginning in 2017)
o Eliminates state inheritance tax, retroactively effective to Jan. 1, 2013
o Includes funding for vocational education and workforce development initiatives
o Increases K-12 funding by $333 million over the biennium (2 percent increase in FY 2014 and 1 percent increase in FY 2015)
o Increases university funding by more than $100 million per year
o Increases student aid by $75 million over the biennium
o Increases road and infrastructure funding by $200 million per year and sets aside another $400 million over the biennium for future transportation needs
o Increases funding for DCS by $35 million per year
o Provides $10 million per year for school resource officers (contained in SB 1)
o Transfers $250 million in FY 2014 to the Medicaid Contingency and Reserve Account
- Paying Taxpayer-Funded Debt
o 100 percent of excess surplus in FY 2013 goes to Pension Stabilization Fund
o Pays back $91 million in charter school loan
o Provides $215 million cash funding for university capital projects
In addition to the budget, Banks pointed out a few noteworthy bills that he authored during the 2013 legislative session:
- Senate Bill 98 - Establishes the Regional Campuses Study Committee, which will review topics related to the governance and operation of regional campuses.
- Senate Bill 177 - Grants in-state tuition eligibility to honorably discharged veterans and active National Guard members who enroll in one of Indiana’s state colleges within a year of settling in Indiana.
- Senate Bill 180 - Requires each university to prepare and publish a report on its grading and employment practices, including employee salaries, faculty responsibilities and student grade point averages.
- Senate Bill 182 - Requires the Indiana Commission for Higher Education and state colleges to develop policies that expand college credit transferability.
- Senate Bill 402 - Creates the Principal Leadership Institute at Indiana State University to teach new leadership, management and communication techniques to public school principals.
- Senate Bill 406 - Establishes a streamlined program for administering college-level classes to high school students for dual credit.
- Senate Bill 409 - Requires the Department of Education to develop performance standards for teacher education programs.
“This session, my main focus was to improve higher education in Indiana,” Banks said. “It’s absolutely essential that we make our colleges and universities more efficient and affordable. If Indiana is going to remain economically competitive, we need more college trained workers.”
The Senate is now adjourned “sine die”— which signifies the end of the 2013 Indiana General Assembly.