INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Republicans who control the Indiana House were poised Monday night to advance a budget plan that leaves out a 10 percent income tax cut sought by Gov. Mike Pence in favor of more spending on schools and roads.
House lawmakers were scheduled to vote on a $30 billion budget after debating dozens of other issues ahead of a mid-session deadline. Republicans turned back proposals from Democrats last week for more schools funding and blocked a vote on the Pence's plan to cut the personal income tax by 10 percent.
Republican leaders, who oversee a majority of 69-31 in the House, have said they are not ruling out the proposal that Pence made the centerpiece of his run for governor last year and his top legislative priority in his first year in office.
Pence has said he is disappointed by the decision to leave the tax cut out of the budget but is optimistic he can win his signature proposal before lawmakers wrap up work April 29.
If the budget passes the House as expected Monday night, it will head to the Senate. Leaders in both chambers have held some cards tight in the ongoing budget negotiations, saying that updated tax collection forecasts due in April will give a better idea what the state can afford over the next two years.
The House plan put an additional $200 million for schools and another $500 million into the state's transportation fund. Pence added roughly $192 million for schools over two years, but $64 million of that was slated for performance pay for schools.
Budget writers are working with a roughly $500 million budget surplus each year and roughly $2 billion in cash reserves left by former Gov. Mitch Daniels. But they are also facing pressure from many, including local and county leaders who slashed budgets during Daniels' tenure, to restore spending cut during the recession.