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STATE SURPLUS: Pence left ‘disappointed’ after tax cut rejection

February 18, 2013

INDIANAPOLIS — House Republicans tossed out Indiana Governor Mike Pence’s call for a tax cut Friday.

Indiana has an approximate $500 million annual surplus that Pence proposed could benefit Hoosiers if that money was turned back to the people.

However, House Representatives would rather see those funds used for education and transportation.

“We’re continuing fiscal integrity, we will have a balanced budget, we’re making priority investments in education and priority investments in transportation,” House Ways and Means Chairman Tim Brown, R-Crawfordsville, said.

Many Whitley County residents agree with the state, sharing their opinion of how the surplus should be spent on The Post & Mail’s Facebook page.

Adriane Copeland suggested using the funds for teacher assistants in the schools.

“Even one extra assistant in each school would help,” Copeland said.

Thomas Steiner said, “Share it with all Indiana schools, its staff and custodians.”

“Schools need it more than anything,” said Terry Farris.

Jeremy Siford thought the money would be well-spent on school safety.

“Pay for armed security in every public school,” Siford said.

Pence responded to the budget proposal in a statement Friday, saying he was “very disappointed.”

“Despite having the largest budget surplus in history, this House budget increases spending without giving hardworking Hoosiers one cent of new tax relief. As our administration’s budget clearly showed, we can afford to do both,” he wrote.

Education funding was boosted by $130 million in the first year and $195 million in the second — almost $200 million more than Pence sought in traditional school funding. They ran with his plan to pay high-performing schools more money, but cut much of the $64 million he had sought for it.

Outside of school funding, area residents had additional suggestions for the state surplus.

Tanalee Scott thought it would be a good idea to “disperse it to each community and each community can then divide it out.”

William Cretsinger said to use the funds to “help all public safety branches get updated and safer equipment.”

The proposal now advances to the full House of Representatives for consideration before being sent to the Senate.

It is unclear when the House vote will take place. Lawmakers must approve the state’s biennial budget before leaving Indianapolis at the end of April.

For a more in-depth look at this story, see the Feb. 18 issue of The Post and Mail. Don't have a subscription? Call (260) 244-5153 or subscribe to our e-edition. For breaking news, sports updates and additional coverage, bookmark the homepage and find us on facebook.

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