Brought to you by WBIW News and Network Indiana
Last updated on Wednesday, June 3, 2009
(INDIANAPOLIS) - Governor Daniels will call legislators back to the statehouse June 11 for a special session to pass a new state budget.
Daniels says he doesn't have a specific expectation of how long it'll take to pass a budget.
But he predicts there will be "overwhelming" support from republicans if the final plan is close to what he outlined Monday night, and says he hopes most democrats will join them.
The kickoff a week from Thursday is a few days earlier than the estimated start date in a timeline laid out by legislative leaders.
An eight-member budget subcommittee plans two days of public testimony this week on the spending plan Daniels laid out.
Next week, members will zero in on the changes they'd like to see.
Daniels made a rare appearance before a legislative hearing, taking questions from the subcommittee.
The governor reiterated his insistence on preserving a billion dollars in reserve funds.
He says he's tried to address democratic priorities by tapping more than $300 million from those reserve accounts, and steering the budget's only spending increases to schools.
Subcommittee Co-Chair Senator Luke Kenley says he believes Daniels has met legislators "more than halfway."
Representative Scott Pelath and Senator Lindel Hume took the opportunity to suggest Daniels could have averted the special session entirely by supporting a legislative compromise at the end of the regular session.
Pelath says Daniels told legislators a $1.3 billion surplus wasn't fiscally prudent enough, yet now is setting a baseline of just $1 billion in reserves.
Daniels says the failed budget featured a "deadly combination" of limits on his ability to trim spending on his own, and reliance on an economic forecast he was convinced was too rosy.
He notes a revised forecast issued last week backed him up, lowering expectations by $1.1 billion.
Daniels says his willingness to spend reserves down to a billion dollars reflects his greater confidence in the accuracy of the new forecast, and says he's attempting to answer democrats' concerns about school funding by cobbling together enough money for a two-percent spending increase.
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