Regional Cities Fund Bill Stalls In House

Feb 22, 2016

Credit Indiana Economic Development Corporation / http://indianaregionalcities.com/

Full funding for all three winners of Indiana’s Regional Cities Initiative is in jeopardy after Speaker Brian Bosma (R-Indianapolis) said Thursday a bill to provide those dollars is stalled in the House. 

The legislature last year set aside $84 million from the state’s 2015 tax amnesty program to pay for the Regional Cities Initiative.  The money was meant to be split in half, with $42 million going to each winner. 

But in December, the Pence administration chose three winners and the governor declared his intention to get an extra $42 million from the legislature to fully fund all three.  While a bill to do so easily cleared the Senate, Speaker Brian Bosma says there isn’t enough support for it in the House Ways and Means Committee.

“We struck a deal last year and those who object to it, that’s what they’re saying – we set it in statute, that’s what it was; the administration did more, they should be held to the statute,” Bosma says.

Bosma suggests packaging that bill with other incentives could make its passage easier – for example, the House Republican road funding plan and its tax increases, which Senate lawmakers aren’t supporting. 

Senate GOP Leader David Long (R-Fort Wayne) says he doesn’t think that kind of deal-making is necessary.

“The Regional Cities plan, I think, is strong enough to stand on its own and I think in the end it will,” Long says. “But we’ll have to keep talking.”

Long says, if necessary, his caucus will include Regional Cities funding in a bill currently in the Senate if House lawmakers don’t advance the measure. 

The three winning regions are northeast, north central and southwest Indiana.