The state’s budget has passed through the state House of Representatives, and now it goes through the same process in the state Senate. Republican Senator Ed Charbonneau of Valparaiso told WKVI that while the state is in an enviable position with the sizeable surplus currently blessing its coffers, but he said there are still some very important issues that need to be addressed.
Charbonneau said that there is a lot going on with the federal government at the moment and he doesn’t know how that’s going to play out, particularly with the anticipated significant costs associated with the Affordable Care Act. He said he’s concerned about the reliability and funding of the program. On top of that, he said the governor is talking about the possibility of a ten percent income tax decrease, but he said that is not in the budget that passed through the House.
“I can assure you that what the budget looks like the day it passes out of the Senate will be different from what it was when it passed out of the house, which was different than what the governor proposed,” Charbonneau said.
Charbonneau said there are tax cuts within the proposed budget, however, and he said things like that can quickly eat at any surplus.
“There are tax cuts that are in the House version of the budget, one of them is a speeding up of the elimination of the inheritance tax, from 10 years to five years I think, and that’s going to be a substantial chunk of money’s that needed to pay for that, but there will be a lot of talking going on before we get to April 29 and hopefully finish our business on time,” said Charbonneau.
He said two main issues that the state needs to address are K-12 education and the state’s infrastructure. He said K-12 education took a massive hit in funding to the effect of roughly $300 million across the state, and the roads are in such bad shape that some roads that were once paved are now becoming gravel. He said he’s confident that these issues will be addressed in the final budget.