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Budget Battle — part two
Fort Wayne Reader
After a bitter battle over a state budget, Republicans and Democrats in the Indiana General Assembly along with Governor Mitch Daniels are all applauding the passage of a new two-year $28.5 billion state budget.
Governor Daniels called the budget “a victory for Hoosier taxpayer protection and a huge step forward for education reform in Indiana.”
“This budget is the product of a healthy compromise,” the Governor said in a statement. “In addition to striking a great bargain that protects taxpayers in this state, almost uniquely in America, we’ve done a good thing for our kids, their future and our state’s future. And we still have a billion dollars in reserve when there are tax increases happening all over the country.”
Funding for public education was one of the battleground areas in this budget process. Governor Daniels claimed his proposed budget increased funding for education. However, Democrats argued that the governor’s calculations were smoke and mirrors. “The tireless efforts of Democrats in both the House and Senate deserve our thanks for their dedication and resolve these last few weeks as Governor Daniels and his Republican allies launched an all-out assault on Indiana’s public school systems,” read a statement from the Indiana Democratic Party.
The state’s new budget focuses on public K-12 and higher education spending, maintains funding for public safety, and preserves
$1 billion in rainy day reserves by cutting
millions in other areas of state spending.
However, despite the backpatting by both political parties, Governor Daniels predicts the next budget cycle in 2011 could prove to be an even tougher fight.
“If the legislature thinks this budget was difficult, just wait for the next time. We’ll be dealing with fewer dollars in two years than we did two years ago,” Daniels warns. While that battle will have to wait two years, the governor is ready to throw a different hot potato into the 2010 legislative session. Next year, he vows to renew his efforts to enact local government restructuring.
“I hope we make more forward progress next year. We should never ever skip an opportunity or a session, short or long, to try and make positive change, and