INDIANAPOLIS–-On Friday, House Bill 1001 passed out of the Senate for the final time with a vote of 39-10. Senate Democratic Leader Greg Taylor (D-Indianapolis) voted in opposition to the budget.

“This budget, just like this entire legislative session, can be summed up in two words: missed opportunities. We entered this year in a strong fiscal position with the goal to pass policies and a budget that worked for Hoosiers. Coming off the heels of the pandemic, rising housing costs and inflation, I was extremely hopeful that we could focus on the issues that matter and make this legislative session about uplifting our residents and truly investing in Hoosiers. I was praying we could pass a budget that made it clear that the education, health and quality-of-life improvements of our residents were our top priorities. We did not do that.

“I know my colleagues across the aisle claim that fiscal responsibility is their top priority, but I don’t believe this bill reflects that either. It is not fiscally responsible to underinvest in mental and public health when we know that will lead to a lack of sufficient resources, providers and care. It’s not fiscally responsible to unload billions of dollars in the pre-96 when we could use those dollars to fund vital items now.

“It’s definitely not fiscally responsible to give a handout to wealthy families so they can use state dollars to pay for their kids’ private school education. Expanding voucher programs while allowing charters to take property taxes away from public schools in Marion, Lake, Vanderburgh and St. Joseph County (while also allowing charters to share referendum dollars in SB 391) will have a devastating impact on traditional public schools. The ongoing attack on public schools and teachers, which harms our children by lessening the quality of their education and harms our future and economy, is the least fiscally responsible thing this body could do, and my Republican colleagues have made a sport of it.

“I’m disappointed by this budget that underinvests in important areas that impact Hoosiers’ quality of life, and I’m disappointed by the culture wars that were too often present during a session that should have been about helping struggling residents. With the economic position Indiana is in, this Legislature could’ve done so much more for Hoosiers.”