By State Rep. Curt Nisly (R-Milford)
INDIANAPOLIS — Lawmakers recently finished the first half of the 2019 legislative session. Hundreds of bills were submitted in the Indiana House for consideration, but only a small number of those advanced to the Senate. Of all the bills discussed in the House, the one I want to focus on is the state budget.
Our state budget determines how your tax dollars are going to be spent in the next two-year period. Without a budget, nothing else happens. This is the most important issue the legislature must work on during session.
The budget passed by the House is fairly disciplined. There are a few items in the budget I am not in favor of, and I doubt we will ever see a perfect budget. That being said, this budget does not create any long-term debt and uses some of the reserves to pay off teacher pension obligations owed by school districts to free up money for teacher pay. These are fiscally responsible decisions all of us can support.
Other initiatives in the budget include increasing protections for Hoosier youth, strengthening the House Republicans’ commitment to students and teachers, better aligning workforce initiatives and supporting Indiana’s veterans.
Some may ask why we’re not using more of our reserves for specific issues, and that is a good question. The answer is, we need to maintain between 10 and 11 percent in reserves to maintain our AAA bond rating. A good credit rating saves Hoosiers’ money on interest when projects need a bond.
On the flip side, the government should be like Hoosier families and live within its means. There is a constant struggle to do our best to have Hoosiers keep as much of their money as possible and to be the best stewards of taxpayer dollars.
The state is working hard to keep implementing former Gov. Mike Pence’s 10 percent tax cut that will take the individual income tax down to 3 percent. However, with our current system, there are many priorities that require our attention — from caring for those with disabilities and special needs to education and roads. All of those should be funded and funded well.
Overall, I’m pleased with the proposed budget, which is now with the Senate for consideration.
As always, please feel free to reach out to me on this or any other issue that concerns you by emailing me at [email protected]