Friday, April 30, 2021
The Indiana General Assembly recently passed the 2022-2023 state budget, which includes a number of investments in high-priority areas, setting Indiana up for a brighter road ahead.
Supporting Students and Teachers
This session, K-12 education received a historic $1.9 billion increase in state funding, as well as $3 billion in federal stimulus money. This includes $1 billion in tuition support for students, $150 million to address learning loss due to the pandemic and a $196 million increase in special education funding. It also allows for the creation of an Education Scholarship Account program for special-needs students so families of those students can tailor their child's education to their unique needs.
This budget also covers the $600 million down payment needed to improve teacher pay throughout the state, and will require schools to spend at least 45% of student tuition support on teacher salaries.
Lastly, more families will be able to exercise school choice through an eligibility expansion in the Choice Scholarship voucher program.
Supporting Local Communities
Many small businesses and local economies are still struggling in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. To support our local communities, $60 million has been allocated for Small Business Restart Grants, and $500 million has been allocated for the Regional Economic Acceleration and Development Initiative to help reinvigorate local economies.
Cutting State Debt
The 2022-23 state budget will eliminate more than $1 billion in current taxpayer-funded state debt and pay more than $1 billion up front for capital projects, avoiding future debt for taxpayers.
Improving Hoosier Health
Over the next two years, $100 million in federal funding will go toward mental health initiatives and $50 million will be used for the Health Issues and Challenges Grant Program
Expanding Broadband Access
The pandemic has shown how vital reliable internet access is to the daily lives of Hoosiers, therefore, $250 million will be going toward expanding broadband access to underserved areas of the state. Other legislation has also passed that will prioritize access for students and rural health care facilities.
Supporting Law Enforcement
Law enforcement will see a $70 million investment in the Indiana Law Force Academy, $5 million to provide raises to state police, conservation and excise officers, $8 million to create a High Tech Crimes Unit, $30 million for body cameras, and an increase for local sheriffs housing Department of Correction inmates.
Supporting the Second Amendment
The fee for a lifetime handgun license has been eliminated, and funds will be provided to local police departments losing this permit revenue.