Pence To Present Two-year Budget Plan Focused On Education
January 7, 2015 –Network Indiana’s Eric Berman reports on the 2015 session agenda.
INDIANAPOLIS — Gov. Mike Pence said the two-year budget he’ll present Thursday to the State Budget Committee will focus on education for Hoosiers of all ages.
Pence said he will look to create “expanding opportunities” not only for youth and college students but also for adult through workforce education. He also said his two-year spending proposal – which will likely top $30 billion – will build on the current performance-based model that distributed $30 million in teacher bonuses throughout the state and will add additional funding for public charter schools in the state.
Pence has also decided to release $200 million for road funding – the second half of $400 million allotted to the general fund during the current budget year. And the governor said there is more money for roads in the upcoming budget. “If you’re going to be the Crossroads of America you better have the roads to back it up,” Pence said.
A smaller item that Pence said will be included in his budget proposal is the continued funding of Camp Summit, a para-military style boot camp program for troubled male teens in northern Indiana that had been recommended for closure in 2014.
The facility serves as an alternative to detainment centers for young males in the state who have been deemed delinquents by Indiana Juvenile Courts. Pence said the decision to request additional funding for the program came from Sen. Thomas Dermody, R-LaPorte, and House Minority Leader Scott Pelath, D-Michigan City. Pence said both lawmakers talked to him about the impact Camp Summit had on individuals in the program and its need for more funding.
The governor said that although the revenue forecast projected only moderate growth in revenue, he is confident there will be sufficient resources to fund all of his proposed programs.
Pence plans to release his full budget for the 2015 legislative session on Thursday before the State Budget Committee, which is made up of Republican and Democratic fiscal leaders from the House and Senate as well as the state budget director.
The budget committee is charged with reviewing the governor’s proposal and forwarding it to the House Ways and Means Committee to begin its legislative journey. Lawmakers must finish work on the budget by April 30 or face a special session to complete the work before the fiscal year ends on June 30.