Legislation to spend nearly $300 million in excess budget surplus dollars on higher education building projects is headed to the governor’s desk.
The Senate approved the measure 38 to 8 Thursday.
Democrats have sharply criticized the bill. Senate Minority Leader Tim Lanane (D-Anderson) argues it’s about priorities.
“I firmly believe there’s a way that we could give teachers of the state of Indiana a pay increase and do it this year and then continue it next year when we come back for the budget,” Lanane says.
But Republicans, like Senate President Pro Tem Rodric Bray (R-Martinsville), say using the extra money to pay cash for the capital projects – instead of bonding – is sound fiscal policy.
“It has the opportunity to save the state of Indiana over $100 million over the time that these bonds might be out,” Bray says.
The surplus spending bill is the first piece of legislation in the 2020 session to make it to the governor.