INDIANAPOLIS—On Thursday, the State Budget Committee met to discuss Governor Holcomb’s recommended biennial budget. State Senator Eddie Melton (D-Gary) released the following remarks:
“There were very positive things in Governor Holcomb’s proposed agenda, including eliminating the school textbook fee, investing in K-16, funding his public health commission’s recommendations, funding rate increases for DCS and Medicaid service providers and allocating more money for food banks.
“I’m also thankful that the Governor’s budget appropriates $10 million to support the Gary Airport’s cargo development projects. This is something I’ve been working on since I started in the Legislature and I look forward to working with both chambers to make sure it’s in the budget that’s ultimately enacted. Building on the region’s existing transportation infrastructure is an ongoing priority, and this is an important item I’m happy to see in his funding priorities.
“There’s also $10 million for Indiana’s only predominantly Black institution, Martin University; and additional funding for veteran suicide prevention and relocation assistance. Other necessary investments include the increase in school safety grants and the site enhancement for regional firefighter training.
“Although it’s not in his budget, I was also pleased to hear that the Governor supports the auto-enrollment of students into the 21st Century Scholars program next session. I will have legislation to get this done, and I hope the Governor will be vocal in urging our Legislature to advance this critical legislation–which stands to bolster our college attainment and workforce capital by helping more students access college. I’m also encouraged by the Chairman’s openness to expanding the new state demolition fund to local governments.
“While the Governor has a good list of priorities for the upcoming session, I’m hopeful that our Legislature will be bolder with the budget we pass. We should be directing more funding to K-12 to ensure we can cover vital teacher raises on top of operational costs. An even better budget would further increase investments in pre-k, childcare, healthcare and affordable housing, all of which would improve prospects for our economy, Hoosier workers and their families.”