Legislative Republicans‘ budget differences with Governor Pence go well beyond his tax-cut plan. Speaker Brian Bosma says the Republican House will propose more school funding than the one-percent increases offered by the new governor.
And he says $350 million Pence has proposed in conditional transportation funds is too low and too iffy. Pence has proposed rewriting the state‘s automatic tax rebate law, which caps state reserves at one-eighth of spending and divides the rest between taxpayers and state pension funds.
Instead of pensions, Pence wants to use that law to generate transportation funds. Bosma says highways are too critical to put funding at the back of the line.
“It does put transportation funding totally in the hands of the economy; if the economy tanks, there‘s no transportation dollars,” Bosma says. “Those are economic development and infrastructure investment dollars. You can‘t sell yourself as the Crossroads of America without adequate roads.”
Bosma says the differences are emblematic of House and Senate leaders‘ real problem with Pence‘s proposed 10-percent tax cut. He says the state can afford to spend money on critical needs that have had to make do with less.
Pence says he set out to create jobs while keeping a healthy budget reserve, and he says he’ll go on the road to talk up the resulting budget.
“We achieved that even while including tax relief for every Hoosier in the city and on the farm, and I truly believe that that, in addition to the additional investments we found and were able to include on education and on transportation, makes this a very balanced proposal,” Pence says.
Bosma and Pence also differ on the overall size of the budget. Pence says the state shouldn‘t spend more than it takes in. Bosma says the state can afford to dip into reserves for one-time projects.