Republicans reject Porter amendment to state biennial budget, effort to make government work for Hoosiers
Today in the House Ways and Means Committee, ranking Democrat state Rep. Gregory W. Porter (D-Indianapolis) offered an amendment to the proposed House Republican budget to make the budget work better for working Hoosiers. Porter's amendment included:
- Full funding for the governor's Public Health Commission recommendations as requested in the governor's budget;
- Real, tangible property tax relief for homestead property owners and low-income Hoosier homeowners;
- A 10% increase in complexity index funding to fight the 40% decline in funding over the past decade;
- Statewide universal pre-K program enacted for families with income at 350% of the federal poverty level and below;
- More funding to keep elderly Hoosiers independent and in their homes through the CHOICE program;
- Incentivizing higher education institutions to offer dual credit for high school students by increasing their funding per credit hour;
- More funding for food banks to alleviate post-COVID higher need and rise in the cost of food;
- Funding above the governor's request for land conservation and species protection;
- The state earned income tax credit is increased up to 15% of the federal amount, as original proposed by the supermajority;
- Individual Development program is funded appropriately so as to better fight generational poverty and empower wealth-building;
- Increased public transit funding by $40 million over biennium;
- New Complete Streets program to keep seniors mobile;
- Permanent, long-term funding for school counselors; and
- $30 million per year in dedicated funding to train professionals in the mental health sector.
Porter's amendment would have funded all these programs and initiatives by cancelling and omitting provisions in the majority budget that misguidedly take money away from our highest priorities for the majority of Hoosiers. It would have eliminated a $1 billion overpayment to state pension funds and saved $1.25 billion in cash by allowing projects that were funded with cash to be bonded. Finally, it would have decreased funding for IEDC because of the unidentified nature of the agency's specific project requests.
House Republicans on the committee rejected the amendment. Porter released the following statement on it:
“This was a no-gimmick, balanced budget proposal. The budget is a moral document – ultimately, it's about what we value as a state. That's why we chose to value Hoosiers' public health, economic stability and mobility, mental health, infrastructure and education in this budget. I am sorry that Republicans chose not to improve their budget proposal today by voting in favor of this amendment.
“I continue to remind all stakeholders and everyday Hoosiers that the House Democrat request is just our initial attempt to do something truly transformative for our state that will position Indiana in the right direction for at least the next few decades.”