INDIANAPOLIS—Today on third reading deadline, the Indiana Senate voted on the state’s biennial budget, House Bill (HB) 1001. Senate Democratic Leader Greg Taylor (D-Indianapolis) released the following statement after voting in opposition to the proposal:

“The budget that was approved out of the Senate today is not a budget that works for every Hoosier. It’s not a budget that reflects the struggling and scraping by that we’ve seen in our state this past year,” Sen. Taylor said. “This virus exposed so many areas where we are lacking as a state, and revealed why it is necessary that we take action to ensure our residents are prepared for emergencies like COVID-19. Hoosiers are struggling to pay bills because they are underpaid, teachers are taking on even more work during this virus, residents are battling with mental health and addiction, new mothers don’t have the postpartum assistance they need to be successful—there’s too many important items left out of this budget and I couldn’t support that by voting in favor of this bill.

“I was also opposed to the disproportionate education funding in our budget. The school funding formula in HB 1001 doesn’t ensure that funding for education is appropriately and proportionately divided among the schools in our state. How does it make sense for school Choice programs, which educate less than ten percent of our students, to receive around 30 percent of new school funding? More than one million Hoosier students—90 percent of our student population—attend traditional public schools. Doesn’t it make more sense for schools educating over 90 percent of our students to receive over 90 percent of the new funding?”

“By not adopting a school funding formula that properly allocates money to the schools in our state in a fair manner, we’ve put every single traditional public school in our state at a disadvantage. The funding plan proposed by my caucus would have benefited schools in every district, including Republican districts. When every school is given the tools to thrive and be successful, that’s what progress looks like. As it stands, my school district will receive funding only right around inflation levels. That’s not progress for Indianapolis or for Indiana. If we aren’t providing schools with adequate funding, we’re denying them the resources they need to be successful.

“While I’m disappointed with the current state of our budget, I will continue working to improve it along with my Senate Democratic colleagues. As long as we are in this Statehouse, my caucus will be fighting for equality, justice and progress.”