INDIANAPOLIS ─ Yesterday, Republican leadership gave a briefing on House Bill (HB) 1001 and outlined the proposed budget for the next two years.

State Senator Fady Qaddoura (D─Indianapolis) issued the following statement in response:

“I am happy to report that our hard work and advocacy on behalf of all Hoosiers resulted in several revisions to the 2022-2023 state proposed budget. These revisions will benefit a significant number of Hoosiers. Furthermore, President Biden’s American Rescue Plan (ARP) allowed Indiana to make important strategic investments in our state to ensure a strong recovery from COVID-19. I am particularly pleased that the state proposed budget utilizes billions of dollars from ARP to support several initiatives and programs, including $900 million of new investments in Indiana’s infrastructure.

“Since the beginning of the 2021 legislative session, I made my budget priorities very clear: increase funding for public education, increase teacher compensation, expand pre-K, increase funding for public and mental health, jumpstart our economy by supporting small businesses and fund public safety initiatives to reduce gun violence in our communities. To support public education, I introduced Senate Bill (SB) 371 to set the minimum annual teacher pay at $40,000 for new teachers. I also introduced SB 372 to fully fund public schools that delivered remote instruction during the pandemic, increase funding under the complexity index to ensure low income students were getting necessary services and expand pre-K funding. In addition, I advocated for restoring Career and Technical Education funding. While these bills did not pass, I was able to successfully advocate for several of these policy proposals to be funded in the budget.

“On April 14th, I introduced several amendments to the budget to expand pre-K, restore funding for critical programs serving senior citizens, restore funding for mental health services and increase funding for the NextLevel Trails program. I am happy to see that the budget includes each of these priority items with the exception of expanding pre-K. Finally, the ideas proposed under my SB 406 to fund local community and economic development projects were adopted into the budget with a total investment of $500 million.

“While this budget includes many wins for constituents, there remain several areas which need to be improved, and I will continue to work on these subjects with my colleagues in a bipartisan fashion. By the end of the day, I am hopeful that the final budget for the next two years will reflect the hard work I and my colleagues have put in to serve the needs of all Hoosiers.”