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Legislators, Governor Reach Budget, Tax Cut Agreement

House Speaker Brian Bosma (left) applauds as Governor Mike Pence gives his first State of the State address.

House and Senate leaders unveiled a revised budget Thursday after reconciling the two houses’ versions.

The budget includes an agreement with Governor Mike Pence on a tax cut package.

The original House Republican budget contained none of Pence’s proposed 10 percent income tax cut. The Senate budget included a 3 percent cut.  House Speaker Brian Bosma says the final budget will include a 5 percent cut, phased in over three years.

The budget will also eliminate the state’s inheritance tax and continue a reduction in the corporate tax rate.

Bosma says the final deal fulfills his caucus’ main goal of a tax cut package that won’t hurt the state over the long term.

“We believe this blend is the right blend,” he says. “It’s at the right amounts. It’s at the right time to be sustainable for the future.”

In a statement, Pence called the tax cut package a “great victory” for taxpayers, saying it will give a much needed boost to working families, small businesses and family farms.

The bill also allocates significant increases for education and roads funding.

It includes more than $300 million in funding increases for K-12 education.  Bosma says the budget goes beyond the goal of restoring education funding to pre-recession levels.

“We’re not only restoring to those levels but we’re adding to that for public schools,” he says. “So they’ll see an increase over what they saw at the highest level.  This will be the most money appropriated for public schools in state history.”

The budget contains $215 million per year in new roads funding. Senate Appropriations Chair Luke Kenley says he is pleased the House and the governor have bought into his roads funding plan, which also includes 200 million dollars a year for the Major Moves 2020 fund.

“And that’s part of our plan for the future idea, that it’s our major arterials like I-69, I-65 north to south all the way six lanes, I-70 east to west, those types of activities, he says.

Bosma says he expects minor revisions to the budget before the legislature sends it to the governor Friday.

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