Brought to you by WBIW News and Network Indiana
Last updated on Friday, June 5, 2009
(STATEHOUSE) - House democrats have walked out of budget talks designed to produce a consensus spending plan, and say they’ll simply draft their own when a special session convenes next Thursday.
Democrats charge most of a two-percent budget increase for schools proposed by Governor Daniels represents federal funding that must be spent on specific programs such as special ed.
They contend the real increase is more like a quarter-percent.
And Ways and Means Vice Chairman Scott Pelath is questioning the gloomy economic forecast that set the starting point for the budget.
Chairman Bill Crawford says democrats will return to their position from the start of the session and write a one-year budget instead of the prescribed two.
Republicans and senate democrats are going forward with three days of hearings in a bipartisan budget subcommittee that was meant to bring legislators close to a final deal by the time the special session began.
Instead, Representative Terry Goodin says legislators may not even reach agreement before the current budget runs out June 30.
That would force non-essential state services to shut down.
Daniels denies democrats' accusations that he's failed to negotiate in good faith.
He says if legislators don't like the formula he's drawn up, they're welcome to rewrite it, as long as the final plan doesn't let state reserves dip below a billion dollars.
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