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Budget Plan Clears Indiana Senate

A $28 billion budget proposal has cleared the Indiana Senate today. It includes modest increases in school funding and no tax hikes.The Republican-controlled Senate voted 36-14 for the bill, which does not include a taxpayer refund provision that GOP Governor Mitch Daniels wants. Under the bill, any excess state revenues would be directed instead to unfunded pension liabilities and not returned to taxpayers.The budget also contains a contentious plan to allow $1,000 per day fines against boycotting legislators.It follows the five-week walkout this session by House Democrats who are in the minority in that chamber. Democratic senators say the right to boycott is a crucial protection for the minority. They want the provision removed as budget negotiations between the House and Senate continuenext week.(Information for this story also came from the Associated Press)

Rick Howlett is host of WFPL's weekly talk show, "In Conversation." Email Rick at rhowlett@lpm.org.