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IN Focus: Lawmakers on both sides react to budget deal, end of 2019 session

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind — Indiana lawmakers have approved a new state budget increasing base school funding by 2.5% percent each of the next two years as they brought this year's legislative session to a close.

The House and Senate votes Wednesday night came after Republicans touted the spending plan as making strides toward improving the state's lagging teacher pay. Republicans say it is a responsible plan that protects the state in case of an economic downturn by maintaining its $2 billion in cash reserves.

But Democrats faulted it for actually doing little to boost teacher salaries or fund other needed programs such as subsidies to adoptive parents and youth suicide prevention programs.

Democratic Sen. Karen Tallian of Portage calls the Republican budget plan "too meager, too tight fisted."

Governor Eric Holcomb offered the following statement regarding the conclusion of the legislative session.

“I want to commend Speaker Bosma and Senator Bray for their extraordinary leadership, and a job well done to their members and staffs.

“With the investments we’ll make over the next two years, we’ll be able to make our strong state, even more so.

“We balanced our budget for the eighth straight time and protected our AAA credit rating. We’re making historic investments in K-12 education, expanding our school safety efforts, and implementing all the recommendations to improve our child services. We are strengthening our already transformational road and rail programs, doubling down on our Next Level Jobs programs, and connecting more Hoosiers to affordable broadband service. We passed a bias crimes law and modernized our tax code. We’ll help more babies reach their first birthdays. Indiana is on a roll.

“I am proud of what was accomplished this legislative session and the way it was accomplished — by working together collaboratively.”

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