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Democrats propose budget alternatives as spending bill advances to House floor

The exterior of the east public entrance to the Indiana Statehouse. There is a statue of former Governor Oliver Perry Morton in front of a sets of steps leading up to large, wooden double doors.
Brandon Smith
IPB News
A new, two-year, $43 billion state budget is headed to the Indiana House floor.

Indiana House Democrats proposed their own ideas for the new state budget Monday as lawmakers advanced the $43 billion spending bill to the full House.

Many of the House Democrats’ proposals were not fundamentally different from the House Republican budget, HB 1001 – they simply went further.

READ MORE: House GOP unveils budget proposal, including big eduction increases and accelerated tax cuts

That includes spending on public health. The House GOP funds an increase in public health spending far short of what the governor and his public health commission want. Rep. Cherrish Pryor (D-Indiana) said the state needs to fully fund public health.

“In too many areas in the state of Indiana, we fall short on being healthy as a state,” Pryor said.

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Where Democrats diverge most from Republicans in the budget is on education. The House GOP plan dramatically expands private school vouchers. Rep. Ed DeLaney (D-Indianapolis) pointed out that includes allowing families of four earning up to about $220,000 a year to access vouchers.

“So, the argument that we heard when we adopted vouchers, that we were helping the poor kids have choices – that’s gone, is it not?” DeLaney said.

The budget advanced to the full House on a party line vote.

Brandon is our Statehouse bureau chief. Contact him at bsmith@ipbs.org or follow him on Twitter at @brandonjsmith5.

Brandon Smith has covered the Statehouse for Indiana Public Broadcasting for more than a decade, spanning three governors and a dozen legislative sessions. He's also the host of Indiana Week in Review, a weekly political and policy discussion program seen and heard across the state. He previously worked at KBIA in Columbia, Missouri and WSPY in Plano, Illinois. His first job in radio was in another state capitol - Jefferson City, Missouri - as a reporter for three stations around the Show-Me State.