Governor Mike Pence's budget plan is focused on economic growth through new investment in transportation and education and lower taxes. OMB Director Chris Atkins presented the governor's budget to the Budget Committee today.
Pence's budget is honestly balanced and funds the Administration's top priorities while keeping spending a full percentage point below inflation. In addition, the budget maintains adequate reserves to protect against further economic downturn.
The budget includes policies that put kids first. It doubles growth in K-12 spending, provides permanent funding for full-day kindergarten, and increases teacher excellence grants by $6 million to provide pay increases for high-performing teachers.
Pence invests in the Hoosier workforce by providing a one percent increase in funding for public colleges and universities and $18 million over two years for adult workforce improvement funds. In addition, the budget invests $6 million over two years to launch Pence's effort to bring career, technical and vocation to every high school in Indiana by creating Indiana Works Councils. The councils will develop regional, demand-driven curricula to prepare students to start their careers when they graduate from high school.
With an eye on making high-demand, high-wage jobs a priority, Pence puts $3 million over the next two years into developing a partnership with Indiana's life sciences industry and its universities. The Indiana Applied Research Enterprise will spur innovation, research and entrepreneurial growth to create new jobs.
Governor Pence's lean budget proposal also targets over $300 million in excess reserves over the next two years and reinvests that money in Indiana's roads and infrastructure, a key component in growing Indiana's transportation and logistics networks.
In addition, the Pence budget reduces the personal income tax by 10 percent over the two-year budget cycle. This will put $500 million directly back into the Hoosier economy and permanently reduce the tax burden on most small and mid-sized businesses and family farms. The move will let Hoosiers keep more of their hard-earned dollars to save, spend or invest as they see fit.
The budget also includes $35 million for the Department of Child Services to hire more caseworkers and expand the emergency hotline. Governor Pence's budget includes money for an assessment of Indiana school security and also fully funds the Medicaid forecast. The Medicaid forecast is the projected increase in enrollment in Medicaid in the next two years.
"This is a jobs budget," said Pence. "It holds the line on spending, funds our priorities, and allows Hoosiers and most small businesses to keep more of their hard-earned income."