Bill passes without funding for teachers

Politics

File photo of a clasroom

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INDIANAPOLIS, IND. — The fight to open this year’s budget for teacher pay is over. The bill that allowed appropriations for the budget passed without any amendments Thursday.

Democrats fought hard to add teacher pay amendments among other things to this bill, but those amendments failed every time. The bill that passed uses state surplus money to pay for Indiana higher education projects in cash.

This is something republican lawmakers and the governor said was a high priority in 2020. It’s expected to save the state $135 million in interest payments. However, democrats kept trying to spend that money on teacher pay among other things.

These amendments were allowed to be considered this session because this was an appropriation bill. House minority leader State Rep. Phil GiaQuinta said it was about priorities.

“We felt like the surplus money that those dollars that we are talking about could have been invested in what we feel are quality of life projects,” said GiaQuinta.

Democrats say they’ll still fight for those things this session in other ways. Republicans are celebrating the passage of this bill. Senate Floor Leader Mark Messmer sent a statement saying it was the right thing to do for Hoosier taxpayers.

Republicans are waiting until next year’s budget session to address teacher pay after the compensation commission reveals its report. This bill still needs to be signed by the Governor before it would become law.

Considering this was one of Governor Eric Holcomb’s priorities in 2020, that’s expected to happen.

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