(INDIANAPOLIS) – Democrats say majority Republicans did less for you than they could have in the just-ended legislative session.
House Minority Leader Phil GiaQuinta (D-Fort Wayne) and Senate Minority Leader Tim Lanane (D-Anderson) call the session a missed opportunity. They wanted a stronger hate crimes law, more money for schools, and a guarantee of teacher raises instead of leaving it up to local school boards.
While Republicans have been boasting the funding increase for schools is the most ever, GiaQuinta says the percentage increase –two-and-a-half-percent in each year of the two-year budget — is barely ahead of inflation. And even that figure is a statewide average. GiaQuinta says his home district of Fort Wayne is among those receiving less. Even if schools want to steer more money to teachers, GiaQuinta says they can’t do it if the funding formula doesn’t give them the money to work with.
(Photo: lenzjona/Getty Images)
Along with the funding formula, Republicans freed up an additional 70-million dollars a year for schools by paying off unfunded local pension liabilities.
Lanane complains Republicans, in his words, “worship at the altar of a two-billion-dollar surplus.” He says they’ve become so focused on that round number that they’re hoarding money which could be spent on schools, or on smaller programs dropped from the budget on the final day, from colorectal cancer screenings to support for pregnant women in minority communities.
But Lanane praises Republicans for adopting one Democratic proposal, requiring Hoosier insurers to cover preexisting conditions, regardless of what happens to the federal health care law.
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