Greensburg Daily News
The 2013 to 2015 Indiana State Budget was passed by the House earlier this week and now moves to the Senate.
District 67 State Representative Randy Frye (R-Greensburg) gave the Daily News a broad overview of the bill Friday afternoon, saying that, financially speaking, Indiana is “having a good year so far.”
“First and foremost,” Frye said, “this budget, now being considered in the Senate, doesn’t raise taxes; it’s structurally balanced.”
The bill increases state educational funding by $344 million per year, Frye added, with all that money coming from the state’s General Budget Fund.
“The economy is growing so that we could afford to return what was taken out by Governor Daniels to pay the bills back when we simply didn’t have anywhere else to draw funds,” he explained. “We were able to add a little extra to that amount, too.”
“We’re all extremely pleased to be able to fund our schools,” he continued. “I feel passionately about our educational system, and it’s something we’re all glad we can afford to do. This budget will have a positive financial impact on every Indiana school.”
The proposed budget also increases highway funding by per year by $250 million — also from the General Fund — for a total of 1.5 billion a year.
“The budget bill we’ve passed in the House switches funding for the Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) and the State Police from the Road Use Tax (which everyone pays when they buy gasoline) to the General Fund,” Frye said. “The resulting Road Use surplus will be returned to highway maintenance and upgrades, with 47 percent of it going to each of Indiana’s 92 counties and 53 percent going to the Indiana Department of Transportation.”
The proposed bill will also eliminate Indiana’s state inheritance tax in four years instead of the previously legislated eight years.
“That’s a big, big deal for family-owned businesses and big family farms,” Frye said. “Often, families have to auction off their properties because they can’t afford the taxes.”
In the same vein, the current proposal also cuts the business tax from 8.5 percent to 6.5 percent.
“We’ve worked hard to be very pro-business, very pro-growth,” Frye said.
Frye and his colleagues have also set aside 12.5 percent of the total budget for the state’s Rainy Day fund.
“We have a $2 billion surplus,” Frye said. “And we anticipate that amount will still be $2 billion in two years.”
Frye stressed that the Senate will, without doubt, make significant changes to the bill.
“It will then go to conference committee,” he explained, “which is composed of both House and Senate members. That committee will work together to merge the two versions into a single bill.”
He continued, “The bill has to be out of conference by mid-April, when it will then be sent back to both the House and Senate to be voted on again. We anticipate the final bill on the Governor’s desk April 28, ready for his signature, which will make it law from July 1, 2013 to June 30, 2015.”
Contact: Rob Cox at 812-663-3111 x7011.