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At Halfway Mark, IU Faring Well in Legislative Session

With the House’s approval of a one-year state budget late this week, all of Indiana University’s campuses were granted a one percent increase in state operating appropriations. The bill now heads to the Senate.

In an update delivered to IU’s trustees at a meeting in New Albany. IU’s liaison to the statehouse Tom Morrision said the institution’s interests have fared well so far.

“Now I would sit here any other year and be afraid to tell you that. But in this year, given the economic climate, this is something that we’re very pleased about,” he said. “And pleased that the House leadership took the approach to prioritize higher education as they did K-12 education.”

Morrison went on to tell the board the House’s bill likely represents the high water mark for what the university should expect next year from the state. With next week marking the halfway point of the General Assembly’s legislative session, Morrison said IU still has little idea of the end result.

“We would love to stop the game at halftime, but we don’t have the ability to do that. But this is halftime and we do have a long time to go,” he said. “And in between now and the end of the session, that bill will go through the Senate.”

The Republican-controlled Senate is less likely to embrace higher education as the Democrat-controlled House did.

Morrison also said the state’s latest revenue forecast is “looming.” He said if that report, scheduled to come out in mid-April, shows revenues far below projections, as they have been in the past half year, the General Assembly could become much more conservative with how they spend the state’s money.

However, he said the stimulus package that became law this week may help. How well, he said, is anybody’s guess.

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