INDIANAPOLIS— Today, the Senate Appropriations Committee voted on SB 2 to establish the Hoosier Families First Fund and SB 3 to freeze gas tax increases, suspend the residential utility tax, support state projects impacted by inflation and provide $400 million to pay down the Pre-1996 teacher pension fund. State Senator Fady Qaddoura (D-Indianapolis) offered the following statement following the committee’s vote on proposed amendments and the final legislation:

“Indiana is at a crossroads. Unfortunately, the past 20 years of state legislation and policies have sent Indiana’s state rankings on critical measures such as education, maternal health, public health, and mental health to the bottom ten compared to the rest of the nation. In addition, legislators were called back to a special session to restrict reproductive rights. If Indiana is to force thousands of new births after decades of underinvesting in infant and maternal health and ineffectively managing adoptions and supporting 13,000 foster youth, it is critical that pro-family spending catches up with the unfunded mandates to force births in Indiana. That’s why I led the effort to introduce amendments in the Senate Appropriations Committee to invest in Hoosier families by providing direct financial relief to Hoosier families, K-12 education, maternal healthcare, public health and mental health. Unfortunately, the majority caucus rejected every amendment. These investments would make lasting improvements in the lives of Hoosiers with improved education, better healthcare for moms and children, relief from higher costs and better access to mental healthcare.”

“Indiana can’t afford reluctant leadership given the urgency of the circumstances. Hoosiers are feeling the pain of skyrocketing gas prices and property taxes; rising rents, utilities, groceries; and deteriorating local roads and infrastructure. It’s the General Assembly’s responsibility to act swiftly to ensure that we listen to Hoosiers and address the issues that are impacting them.”