Houchin: Senate Concludes 2017 Session With Passage of State Budget

Houchin: Senate Concludes 2017 Session With Passage of State Budget

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State Sen. Erin Houchin (R-Salem) praised the passage of a balanced state budget plan that increases funding for education, public safety and fighting drug abuse.

“With this two-year budget, Indiana continues our track record of being fiscally responsible and promoting pro-growth economic policies,” Houchin said. “This budget reflects our Hoosier priorities by putting our children and teachers first through increased education funding, increasing funding for the Department of Child Services, which keeps our most vulnerable children protected, and by giving a much needed raise to our Indiana State Police officers that work to keep our communities safe.”

Highlights of the state budget (House Enrolled Act 1001) include: 

  • Education
    • Increases K-12 funding by $345 million over the biennium
    • Provides $30 million per year for the Teacher Appreciation Grant program, which gives cash stipends to high performing teachers in every public school district across the state
    • Increases total state university operating funds by $91 million over the biennium
  • Balanced Budget
    • Ongoing revenues exceed ongoing expenditures
    • Ends biennium with $1.9 billion in reserves
  • Public Safety
    • Provides a pay increase for Indiana State Police and other state law enforcement officers to make their salary levels competitive with other states (10 percent in Fiscal Year 2018 and 14 percent in Fiscal Year 2019)
  • Veterans
    • Provides funding for six new state veteran service officers
    • Provides $1.82 million over the biennium for veteran service organizations to improve assistance for veterans seeking benefits
    • Includes $1 million per year to help homeless veterans and establish a hyperbaric treatment pilot program to help veterans struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Health and Human Services
    • Provides $10 million over the biennium to the governor’s office for substance abuse prevention, treatment and enforcement
    • Increases funding for the Department of Child Services by $200 million over the biennium to help meet the significant increase in casework demands
    • Provides a $3-million-per-year increase for Adult Protective Services

In addition to supporting the two-year budget, Houchin has worked on a variety of measures including:

  • Requiring DNA samples to be collected upon a felony arrest to help solve and prevent crimes;
  • Ensuring parental rights are protected when minors seek abortions;
  • Protecting taxpayers and school corporations from outrageous school superintendent contracts and buyouts;
  • Increasing punishments for the worst drug dealers; and
  • Giving survivors of domestic violence the ability to separate their cell phone plans from their abuser and protect their family pets when they chose to leave a dangerous situation.

 

The Senate is now adjourned “sine die” – which signifies the end of the 2017 Indiana General Assembly.