Mt. Vernon Register-News

Community News Network

February 23, 2013

Counties’ organization backs GOP House budget plan over Pence plan

INDIANAPOLIS — The Republican-dominated Association of Indiana Counties has thrown its support behind the House Republicans’ budget plan that calls for spending the state’s surplus on roads and schools instead of a tax cut proposed by Gov. Mike Pence.

The association’s members have been lobbying legislators to vote for the proposed House budget bill that increases funding for transportation infrastructure by $500 million over the next two years, with about half of that going to local governments to fix their crumbling roads.

The bill, which the Republican Pence opposes because it doesn’t include his tax cut, is scheduled for a final House vote early this week then moves to the Senate.

The Association of Indiana Counties favors not just the extra dollars but the funding mechanism: Under the budget plan crafted by the Republican-controlled House Ways and Means Committee, all gas taxes will be redirected to roads. Currently, some are siphoned off for the Indiana State Police and the Bureau of Motor Vehicles.

“We think this is the fiscally responsible thing to do,” said Andrew Berger, the association’s government affairs director.

The association is made up of elected county officials from across the state, and most are Republican.

They may have voted for Pence last fall when he ran on a pledge to use the state’s surplus to cut taxes, but road funding is critical to them: Between 2000 and 2010, the major sources of road repair money collected by the state and doled out to local governments dropped by about $100 million, while road repair costs doubled.

Association president Penny Luckinbill, the Republican Marshall County auditor, said the House budget plan provides the additional funding that counties need “to begin reclaiming some of the roads that have fallen into severe disrepair.”

Elkhart County Commissioner Mike Yoder, a Republican and an association board member, said the road funding plan in the House budget bill is good public policy because it uses road-related taxes to pay for road repairs and maintenance. But he said it still won’t generate enough money to pay for the estimated $800 million in needed county road repairs.

“We’ve been telling our legislators for the last several years that there is a continual problem with road funding,” Yoder said.   

The association’s support comes at a time when Pence is engaged in an intra-party fight over the budget with Republican legislative leaders.

He’s unhappy that the House budget bill doesn’t include his 10 percent cut in the state income tax rate. The cut would save the average Hoosier about $100 but cost the state $720 million over the next two years and $500 million every year after that.  

Republican legislative leaders want to spend that money on schools, roads, and services for the needy, but Pence has defended the tax cut, saying it gives new tax relief to “hardworking Hoosiers.”  

The House budget bill also doesn’t contain his road funding plan that would pump state dollars into transportation infrastructure only after Indiana’s surplus tops 12.5 percent of what it spends in a year. It would divert the extra payments to pension obligations and the automatic taxpayer refunds that are currently triggered by the 12.5 percent surplus.

Pence’s budget team estimates his plan would add $347 million to road funding over the next two years. But county officials fear it’s a temporary fix at best; both House and Senate legislative leaders have also rejected the idea.

Maureen Hayden covers the Statehouse for the CNHI newspapers in Indiana. She can be reached at maureen.hayden@indianamediagroup.com.

 

1
Text Only
Community News Network
  • Almost half of America's obese youth don't know they're obese

    The good news is that after decades of furious growth, obesity rates finally seem to be leveling off in the U.S.. The bad news is that America's youth still appear to be dangerously unaware of the problem.

    July 23, 2014

  • Darth Vader is polling higher than all potential 2016 presidential candidates

    On the other hand, with a net favorability of -8, Jar Jar is considerably more popular than the U.S. Congress, which currently enjoys a net favorability rating of -65.

    July 23, 2014

  • 072214 Diamond Llama 1.jpg Llama on the loose corralled in Missouri town

    A llama on the lam cruised Main Street Tuesday before it mistook a resident’s fenced backyard for a place to grab a meal and freshen up.

    July 22, 2014 2 Photos

  • Screen Shot 2014-07-22 at 2.00.42 PM.png VIDEO: Train collides with semi truck carrying lighter fluid

    A truck driver from Washington is fortunate to be alive after driving his semi onto a set of tracks near Somerset, Ky., and being struck by a locomotive, which ignited his load of charcoal lighter fluid.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • mama.jpg What we get wrong about millennials living at home

    If the media is to be believed, America is facing a major crisis. "Kids," some age 25, 26, or even 30 years old, are living out of their childhood bedrooms and basements at alarmingly high numbers. The hand-wringing overlooks one problem: It's all overblown.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Malaysians wonder 'Why us?' after second loss of airline jet

    It was all too familiar. Grieving families rushing to airport. The flashing television graphics of a plane's last radar appearance. The uncomfortable officials before a heavy thicket of microphones.
    For many Malaysians, the disappearance of Flight 370 in March has been a long trauma from which the nation has not yet recovered.

    July 18, 2014

  • The terrible history of passenger planes getting shot out of the sky

    What is more clear is that, if initial reports are true, this would be the deadliest incident of a civilian passenger plane being shot down in modern memory. In some instances, the causes of the disaster are still shrouded in mystery. Here are some of the worst events.

    July 17, 2014

  • 130408_NT_BEA_good kids We're raising a generation of timid kids

    A week ago, a woman was charged with leaving her child in the car while she went into a store. Her 11-year-old child. This week, a woman was arrested for allowing her 9-year-old daughter to go to the park alone. Which raises just one question: America, what the heck is wrong with you?

    July 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Screen Shot 2014-07-16 at 2.12.33 PM.png Gunshots narrowly miss TV reporter

    A reporter for a West Virginia television station narrowly escaped injury or worse Monday while covering a fatal weekend shooting in Beckley.

    July 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • 25 hidden secrets in "Weird Al's" "Word Crimes" video

    Yankovic's 14th album was released this week, and it warms my heart containers that he's kept up his geeky brand of humor for so long. While he has written so many incredible songs, none have spoken to my love of proper grammar.
    Until "Word Crimes."

    July 16, 2014

Twitter Updates
Facebook
Stocks