Saving taxpayers money By State Sen. Mark Messmer (R-Jasper):
This week, the Indiana Senate passed House Bill 1007, which will use cash to pay for six university capital improvement projects, saving taxpayers $135 million in future interest costs. This bill now goes to the governor for his signature.
My Democrat colleagues tried to make hay out of this bill through their failed amendments addressing teacher pay. Indiana teachers should be very wary of what they tried to do. It’s not responsible to raid retired teachers’ pensions in order to try to free up money for current teachers’ salaries; it’s not responsible to push out a payoff of that teacher pension fund until the 2040s that would ultimately cost taxpayers an additional $2.1 billion; and it’s not responsible to use one-time surplus money in a way that would end up raising the costs of all future budgets.
Passing HB 1007, as it is written, was the right thing to do for Hoosier taxpayers – it pays off debt, it doesn’t push a due date out; it pays in full now, it doesn’t incur $135 million in interest costs; and it frees up real money that can be dedicated to ongoing needs.
Teacher pay is important and that’s why we increased K-12 funding by $763 million in our last budget. With that said, we haven’t even seen the full impact of teacher raises that came from that budget increase. State budgeting requires discipline, but with 50% of our current General Fund – 50 cents out of every dollar – going to K-12 education, we have demonstrated where our priorities lie, and we will continue to prioritize funding for our K-12 schools in the future so local school boards can continue to increase teachers’ pay.
Good government means making disciplined choices and that’s what the Indiana Republicans have demonstrated through our support of HB 1007 this session.
As always, feel free to contact my office directly with your questions and concerns by email at Senator.Messmer@iga.in.gov or by phone at 800-382-9467.