Pence lobbies lawmakers for Regional Cities funding support

(Photo Supplied/Indiana Regional Cities Initiative)

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (WOWO): The Pence Administration is making a personal appeal to legislators to release more money for the Regional Cities Initiative.

Legislators budgeted 84-million dollars for Regional Cities grants, with the money to come from a tax amnesty. The amnesty raised more money than predicted, and Pence announced three 42-million-dollar grants in December instead of two: Fort Wayne, Evansville, and South Bend. House Speaker Brian Bosma warned last week the votes aren’t there to get the extra money out of committee.

Commerce Secretary Victor Smith and Workforce Development Commissioner Steven Braun appeared before the committee to urge members to reconsider. Braun acknowledges there are many programs that need funding, but says the return on investment from the Regional Cities plan will dwarf any spending concerns.

Asked why the administration promised more money than had been approved, Smith said the three proposals stood out so much that a review panel felt they all needed funding, but several committee members say they resent being put on the spot to back up the administration’s promises without being consulted.

The committee will vote no later than Monday. Bosma has said the money may be folded into a road funding compromise if the votes aren’t there for a standalone bill.

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