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Budget battle

By PA

Fort Wayne Reader

2009-06-04


With state lawmakers headed back to the Indiana Statehouse after failing to pass a budget during their regular session, Governor Mitch Daniels has unveiled his new budget proposal. Daniels' plan calls for huge cuts in state spending and dipping into the stateís rainy day fund.

The governor reports that state revenues were down eight percent compared to the last fiscal year and could be off as much as $1-billion over the next two years.

"Many good ideas will just have to wait," Governor Daniels told viewers during his televised address.

Some programs would be slashed as much as 15%, including aid to colleges and universities, as well as money for the BMV and Homeland Security. However funding for K-12 public education would increase up to two percent. Student financial aid could increase by three percent.

"Every school would receive more per
student than it received this year," said Daniels. "If by some happy chance state revenues turn out better than projected, I'm proposing that one of every two extra dollars go automatically to our schools with the rest going to our savings accounts."

The concessions for education
were an attempt to thwart Democratic opposition. However, Representative Bill Crawford
(D-Indianapolis) and the other Democrats on a special committee considering Governor Mitch Danielsí budget proposal walked out of a meeting thu week.

They say the governorís claims a two-
percent increase in education funding isnít all that is appears. They say most of the increase actually comes from federal
stimulus funds making the increase in state funding a mere .25 percent. Let the fighting begin.

The General Assemblyís special session, originally scheduled for June 15th, has been pushed up to June 11th to give lawmakers more time to wrestle with the budget.

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