The Republican supermajority voted down two Senate Democrat proposals to raise teacher pay in the Senate Appropriations Committee Thursday.

State Senator Karen Tallian (D-Ogden Dunes) offered her Senate Bill (SB) 306 as an amendment to House Bill (HB) 1007, which is the governor’s bill to cash fund projects that were bonded in the budget approved last April. On Tuesday, the governor borrowed Sen. Tallian’s bill with an announcement to address the issue of teacher pay by moving $250 million of the surplus to the Pension Stabilization Fund.

“I’m all for using our unexpected surplus to free up money for teachers,” Sen. Tallian said. “The problem is that this should happen right now instead of tabling it for another year. There’s absolutely no reason we couldn’t start this plan this year and give teachers immediate pay raises.

“My original plan didn’t use surplus money because Republicans are so against using the surplus for teacher pay, or anything really. Instead, I put forth a creative solution, which I thought they would approve, that frees up $100 million a year without changing or harming teachers’ pension payouts. By voting down my amendment, Statehouse Republicans have once again shown where their priorities really lie: not with our teachers.”

State Senator Eddie Melton (D-Gary) offered his Senate Bill 413, a complimentary proposal, as an amendment to HB 1007 in the committee.

“Since HB 1007 opens the budget, there was no better time to fight to add more money for teacher salaries than to offer my teacher compensation bill as a committee amendment,” Sen. Melton said. “My proposal would add $100 million to the Teacher Appreciation Grant (TAG) so teachers could see more money immediately this school year. My proposal would also ensure that teachers would continue to see extra money in TAG in the second year of the current budget.”

Both amendments were voted down by the committee along party lines 4-8.