State Sen. Mark Messmer (R-Jasper), Majority Floor Leader of the Indiana Senate, made the following statement today upon passage of House Bill 1007:
STATEHOUSE (Jan. 23, 2020) – “Our support and passage of HB 1007 is a fiscally sound move that will save taxpayers $135 million. By using cash to pay for these six university capital projects – which were already approved by the General Assembly in the budget – we are avoiding new government debt and freeing up more taxpayer dollars in the long run.
“While our Democrat colleagues are trying to make hay out of this bill through their failed amendment to address teacher pay, Indiana teachers should be very wary of what Sen. Tallian tried to put forth. It is not responsible to raid retired teachers’ pensions in order to try to free up money for current teachers in the meantime; it’s not responsible to push out a payoff date to the 2040s that would ultimately cost taxpayers $2.1 billion; and it’s not responsible to use a one-time surplus in a way that will end up raising the costs for all future budgets.
“Passing HB 1007 as it’s written is the right thing to do for Hoosier taxpayers – it pays off debt, it doesn’t push a due date out; it pays in full now, it doesn’t incur $135 million in interest to be paid by the taxpayer; and it frees up real money that can be dedicated to ongoing needs.
“Teacher pay is important – that’s why we increased funding for K-12 schools by $763 million in our last budget. That said, we haven’t even seen the full impact of the teacher raises that came from this. State budgeting requires discipline, but with 50% of our current General Fund – 50 cents out of every dollar – going to K-12 education, we have demonstrated where our priorities lie, and we will continue to prioritize funding for our K-12 schools in the future so local school boards can continue to increase their teachers’ pay.
“Good government means making disciplined choices. That’s what Statehouse Republicans have demonstrated through our support of HB 1007.”
For a high-resolution photo of Sen. Messmer, click here.