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Indiana Senate advances its version of state budget, setting up final negotiations

Sen. Ryan Mishler (R-Mishawaka) is pictured looking to the left side of the frame. There is a gray wall behind him, and he is wearing a suit and tie.
Brandon Smith
IPB News
Sen. Ryan Mishler (R-Mishawaka) said the 2023 budget bill is still a work in process.

The Senate easily approved its version of the budget bill Tuesday, setting up final negotiations over the state’s $43 billion spending plan.

The Senate budget proposal diverges from the House version in some key ways, most notably choosing not to include any expansion of the school voucher program.

HB 1001 increases K-12 tuition support by more than a billion dollars over the next two years. It includes a dramatic expansion of public health spending – though not as far as most advocates agree is necessary. The same can be said for its funding boost for mental health resources.

Sen. Eddie Melton (D-Gary) applauded much of what the Senate GOP budget does, including money to cover the cost of textbooks and materials for every K-12 public and charter school student in the state.

READ MORE: Senate Republicans unveil state budget proposal, without any school voucher expansion

Join the conversation and sign up for the Indiana Two-Way. Text "Indiana" to 73224. Your comments and questions in response to our weekly text help us find the answers you need on statewide issues throughout the legislative session. And follow along with our bill tracker.

But, Melton said, there’s more work to be done.

“We simply don’t go far enough to make critical investments to support the public health and welfare of the residents of our state,” Melton said.

Republicans rejected most of the budget amendments Democrats proposed on the Senate floor. That included provisions to raise the state's cigarette tax to pay for public and mental health care, provide a 13th check for people receiving public retirement benefits, spend more money to help clear a backlog of rape kits and increase funding for child care and pre-K.

Sen. Ryan Mishler (R-Mishawaka), the Senate budget architect, said the bill is not a finished product.

“I’m hearing your concerns," Mishler said. "I know there’s plenty of concerns on our side.”

The House and Senate will now negotiate a final budget behind closed doors.

Brandon is our Statehouse bureau chief. Contact him at bsmith@ipbs.org or follow him on Twitter at @brandonjsmith5.
Copyright 2023 IPB News.

Brandon Smith

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