Differences Between House, Pence Include Spending As Well As Taxes
House Speaker Brian Bosma (R-Indianapolis) (WIBC.com file photo)
House Republicans find themselves in an unfamiliar position this session: advocating more state spending.
Republican legislators were Governor Mitch Daniels' wingmen in calling for spending restraint, especially when Democrats held the House majority. But with an improved economic outlook, the House's proposed two-year budget envisions spending $1 billion more than Governor Pence does, with most of the difference in school funding. The House budget gives schools a 2% increase in the first year, double what the governor proposed.
Speaker Brian Bosma (R-Indianapolis) says the House is just restoring two years of cuts made when the recession hit. He says Republicans are still being fiscally conservative, but says that label shouldn't preclude any and all spending increases, as long as those increases are affordable and in the right places.
"I did see someone say we were spending like drunken sailors. We've returned education funding back to the level it was in 2009," Bosma says. "We were all pretty sober then, and we're sober now."
Ways and Means Chairman Tim Brown (R-Crawfordsville) says his budget would leave the state with $2.1 billion in reserves, just shy of the amount that would trigger an automatic tax rebate.