INDIANAPOLIS—Today, House Bill 1001 passed the Senate with a vote of 40-10. Senate Democratic Leader Greg Taylor (D-Indianapolis) released the following statement:
“When our state is sitting on $3B+ in reserves, there’s no excuse for us not to adequately fund priorities like health and education.
“My caucus introduced and advocated for multiple amendments to ensure funding requests from the Behavior Health Commission and Public Health Commission were actually met, but those amendments were rejected. My caucus also pushed for increased school funding; a 13th check for retired teachers and state employees; expanded eligibility for On My Way pre-k to help more families access childcare; a line item to support Trauma Care Systems; and, increased tax credits for teachers going into their own pocket to buy classroom supplies, to name a few. All but two of our thirty-three amendments were voted down.
“While this bill has been drastically improved since it left the House, glaring issues persist. Beyond the lack of sufficient funding for mental and public health—and the absence of key items pushed by my caucus—it introduces a new concept where charter schools can now receive local property tax dollars that currently go to traditional public schools. What are we doing? We have no idea what the long-term outcome of this will be outside of traditional public schools having even more essential funding funneled away to charter schools, which are not required to meet the same accountability or transparency standards as traditional public schools. It’s a big mistake to start down this path, and I absolutely will not support legislation that further siphons dollars away from our traditional public schools.”