The Ways and Means Committee endorsed the G-O-P budget on a party-line vote.
Democrats say the state could afford to go further on school funding, and object to cuts in the Prime Time program to control class sizes. Ways and Means Chairman Tim Brown says the budget keeps House Republicans’ promise to continue rebuilding school budgets after the recession prompted cuts in 2010.
He boasts the money earmarked for schools is the most in state history. The budget gives schools a two-percent increase in the first year of the two-year budget and an additional one-percent the second year.
Gail Zeheralis with the Indiana State Teachers Association says teachers appreciate the attempt to recoup the cuts in school funding from 2010, but says per-student funding is still lower than it was four years ago.
The committee made a last-minute addition of seven-million dollars after discovering a math error left the budget a little short of those targets.
The House could approve the budget as early as Thursday, though Brown notes there won’t be any final decisions until after state analysts update their economic forecast in April. That’s also when Brown expects to turn his attention to Governor Pence’s tax cut proposal. Pence has chided the House for omitting the tax cut from the budget bill.