Luke Kenley

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Legislative leaders meet with Gov. Pence Friday morning to begin final negotiations on how to pay for road repairs, and whether taxes will go up to do it.

Senate President Pro Tem David Long (R-Fort Wayne) is adamant the Senate won't go along with House Republicans' call to raise taxes on gas and cigarettes -- he says there needs to be a more thorough study of just what the state is building and the options for paying for it.

Brian Hefele / https://www.flickr.com/photos/brhefele/6973020335

Senate lawmakers Tuesday advanced their compromise on the ongoing road funding debate. 

The Senate’s version of the road funding bill does not raise any taxes (unlike its House counterpart).  Instead, it would spend down the state’s surplus and give local governments more freedom to raise or create road funding taxes. 

It would also create a new task force compromised of lawmakers and state and local officials. Sen. Luke Kenley (R-Noblesville) says the task force will focus on transportation infrastructure needs and develop long-term funding solutions.

Brian Hefele / https://www.flickr.com/photos/brhefele/6973020335

Senate fiscal leadership Thursday unveiled its attempt at a compromise in the road funding debate. The effort came in the form of a committee amendment that dismantled much of the House Republicans’ proposal.

The Senate’s action came one day after House Republicans inserted the entirety of their plan into a Senate bill, ensuring it would be kept alive in the process.  That’s because the Senate committee only kept small portions of the House plan in the proposal it unveiled. 

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Eleven presidential candidates and 52 congressional hopefuls have filed for Indiana's primary ballot.

All eight remaining Republican presidential candidates have qualified for the ballot, along with Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), who quit the race the same day his campaign turned in his petition signatures.

Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders (D-VT) will appear on the Democratic ballot.

All seven U.S. House members seeking reelection in Indiana will first have to survive primary challenges.

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A bill to fully fund all three winners of the Regional Cities Initiative breezed through the Senate Appropriations Committee Thursday.

The Regional Cities Initiative money comes from the 2015 tax amnesty program, and all $84 million was originally meant to be split between two regions.  This economic development program aims to encourage cooperation across city and county lines. 

Nic McPhee / https://www.flickr.com/photos/nicmcphee

Indiana's sales tax revenues have under-performed this fiscal year and a new revenue forecast predicts the state won't collects as much as previously expected. 

Sales tax collections are down more than 3 percent from expected levels through nearly half of the fiscal year. And a new revenue forecast predicts the state will collects more than $300 million less in sales tax over the next two years than previously expected. House Ways and Means Chair Tim Brown says what concerns him about that depressed outlook is Indiana's aging population.

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The Indiana Economic Development Corporation will soon decide which regions are awarded $84 million for the Regional Cities Initiative, and lawmakers could decide this coming session whether more money will be given out.

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While Democrats have criticized Governor Pence's road funding plan for not including money for local streets, Republicans are uneasy about the use of a funding source the state has largely steered clear of in recent years: a bond issue.

Pence has proposed floating bonds for a quarter of the billion dollars he wants to raise.

House Ways and Means Chairman Tim Brown (R-Crawfordsville) has said he's "concerned" about that piece of the plan.

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Even though the average American student racks up $35,000 in college loan debt, the vast majority believe it’s worth it.

That’s the key finding among the 30,000 college grads polled in this year’s Gallup-Purdue Index.

More than three of every four grads agree or strongly agree their college’s cost did not outstrip the value of a diploma later in life.

Brandon Busteed, who lead’s Gallup’s education polling, says he’s surprised only 50-percent strongly agree with that.

State, INDOT Exploring How To Fund 2016 Road Projects

Sep 8, 2015
Lee Cannon / https://www.flickr.com/photos/leecannon/8630689052/

Legislators and Gov. Pence have said they expect an "infrastructure session" next year. But they're still working out how to pay for those projects.

INDOT officials and legislators have warned for years that increased fuel efficiency is reducing the gas tax revenue that has traditionally paid for road maintenance.

Senate Appropriations Chairman Luke Kenley (R-Noblesville) says he doesn't think increasing the tax is the way to make up for it -- he notes electric vehicles don't pay fuel tax at all, and says a funding solution should involve contributions from all vehicles.

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