House Republican committee members rejected an attempt Tuesday to spend excess state surplus dollars on teacher pay bonuses.
The Ways and Means Committee voted instead to spend the money on cash payments for university building projects.
Indiana collected nearly $300 million more in the last budget than expected. Republicans want to use that money to pay for building projects at state colleges and universities with cash, rather than through bonding.
Ways and Means Committee Chair Tim Brown (R-Crawfordsville) says paying cash now will save the state from more than $130 million in interest payments over the next 20 years.
“Therefore, we have flexibility with revenue streams coming in in the future,” Brown says.
Democrats, like Rep. Ed DeLaney (D-Indianapolis) want to use the money for one-time teacher pay bonuses, something the GOP rejected.
“What you’re telling the taxpayers of this state is, we’re going to pay off some things we like and we’re not going to invest in some things that you like,” DeLaney says.
The spending bill advanced to the House floor in a party-line vote.