Porter: Holcomb has a responsibility to invest state dollars into Indiana’s human infrastructure during COVID-19 pandemic

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INDIANAPOLIS – Today, State Representative Gregory W. Porter (D-Indianapolis) called on Governor Holcomb to free up dollars in certain state funds and redirect the $291 million state budget surplus, to help support Hoosiers across our state. Many people are in dire need of economic security, food security and health security as we head into uncertain and difficult times as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“As the ranking member of the Indiana House Ways and Means Committee, I know that we have state funds available that could be used now to help Hoosiers,” said Porter.  “I also know that it is not too late for Governor Holcomb to redirect the $291 million state budget surplus to support the human infrastructure of our state.” said Porter.

“The state has the money to provide some relief to the people of Indiana during this pandemic. The real question is: does the Governor have the will to give it to them? Only the Governor can answer that question because the choice is his to make.”

Here is how Porter is urging Holcomb to spend the $291 million state budget surplus and other state funding:

  • Expand the eligibility for unemployment insurance and allocate $191 million from the $291 million state budget surplus to that fund. 
  • Allocate $100 million from the $291 million state budget surplus to food banks and other food assistance programs across the state.
  • Draw on the $571 million Medicaid reserve and the $200 million HIP reserve to forward fund medical and social service programs.

“I think it would be cruel to spend the state budget surplus on school buildings rather than our people, especially during this time,” Porter continued. “That’s why I’m urging the Governor to use available state funding to support the economic, food and health security of people across Indiana during a time of great need.”

Long before the COVID-19 pandemic, Porter continuously called on the State to invest in its human infrastructure. For example, Porter offered proposals to House Enrolled Act 1007 – the legislation signed into law by the Governor that allocates money from Indiana’s surplus to pay cash for $291 million in projects at the state’s higher education institutions. This proposal would have invested the state budget surplus dollars in the human infrastructure of Indiana: teachers; families; students; and seniors. Unfortunately, his proposals were voted down by House Republicans.

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