Statehouse Democrats say Republicans are only “nibbling around the edges” to solve the state’s problems.
Senate Minority Leader Tim Lanane (D-Anderson) compares the session to a Broadway show that’s reached intermission.
“How would the audience feel at the end of Act I? My thinking would be that they’d probably be headed for the exits or going to the box office to seek a refund,” Lanane says.
Democrats feel that way particularly about teacher pay. But House Speaker Brian Bosma (R-Indianapolis) says he’s happy with his caucus’s approach on the issue. That includes their plan to publicly shame schools that don’t spend a certain amount of their funding in the classroom.
“Where we monitor and encourage every school at the local level to make those decisions but to prioritize teacher salaries,” Bosma says.
Democrats argue that falls far short of a guarantee. But Republicans, including Gov. Eric Holcomb, aren’t offering teachers much more.
“They’re going to see the increase that their school is getting," Holcomb says. "And they’re going to see the increase that their paycheck received, in the short term.”
And as the state budget shifts to the Senate and its leader Sen. Rodric Bray (R-Martinsville), that’s unlikely to change.
“Having the legislature tell school districts exactly what you need to pay teachers is a bit problematic, so we’re trying to come up with other, creative ways to help,” Bray says.
The Senate begins its budget hearings Monday.