Indiana Lawmakers Reach Deal on State Budget

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (WOWO): Indiana lawmakers have reached a deal on a new $31 billion, 2-year state budget.

Legislators stuck by their pledge to boost school funding by 4.7 percent over two years.

They split the difference on Governor Pence's request to close a funding gap between charter schools and traditional public schools- the $500 per-pupil boost is a third of what he wanted.

Network Indiana reports the school funding formula will give extra money to schools based on the number of families on welfare or food stamps. But House Ways and Means Chairman Tim Brown (R-Crawfordsville) says negotiators adopted a Democratic suggestion to phase in the new calculation over three years instead of five.

The bill gives full funding to Pence's $84 million Regional Cities Initiative, which the Indiana Economic Development Corporation had sought as a means of financing redevelopment efforts to make Indiana regions more attractive to businesses and new residents.

Both the House and Senate had originally earmarked about a third of that amount. Brown says the money will come from a repeat of a one-year amnesty for delinquent taxpayers, a move the state last offered 10 years ago.

Pence had originally sought to use amnesty proceeds to offset the costs of a tax simplification proposal.