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Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Ind. Law - What's in the Senate budget? [Updated Again]

Yesterday the Senate passed its version of HB 1001 and sent it back to the House. The House can concur in the Senate amendments, in which case the bill will go to the Governor. Or the House can disagree and send the bill to conference committee, to try to work something out between the two houses. At any time, however, the House still can withdraw its objections and agree to the Senate version.

Today Governor Daniels issued this press release:

The Senate compromise, while significantly different from either of my two proposals, protects taxpayers within the limits I’ve requested and I would sign it. I know there are many House Democrats who would prefer a budget that keeps Indiana in the black to one that takes us into bankruptcy, and we invite them to join this compromise now and bring the special session to a successful close. Mr. Speaker, please just free your followers to vote their conscience and let’s go home.
I've taken a look at the Senate version of 1001, just to see if it contains any surprises. "Taking a look" was not that simple, at this point the PDF version of the Engrossed Bill is nearly 30 MB, making it very difficult for most citizens to review, unless they first download the entire document.

I was able to download it and using "reduce file size" in Adobe Acrobat, turn it into an identical document of only 2.3 MB. I've posted it here. Don't forget that you can use the Adobe search function.

Here are some items that caught my eye as I skimmed through the over 400 page document. I didn't spend much time on the budget itself, but on the balance of the bill where the other provisions are packed in. (Note that the page numbers I use are those in the PDF document, rather than on the bottom of the bill's pages).

Definitions: p. 10, lines 4-6:
(1) "Augmentation allowed" means the governor and the budget agency are authorized to add to an appropriation in this act from revenues accruing to the fund from which the appropriation was made.

p. 81, lines 47-48

Total Operating Expense 1,522,791 1,560,016

p. 118-122, line 28 and on - SECTION 52 adds a department of child services ombudsman, who is appointed by the governor and reports directly to the commissioner. Serves "at the pleasure of the governor." See also beginning at p. 329, SECTION 339.

p. 129, line 3-27 - SECTION 60 creates a "retiree health benefit trust fund" for purposes of 4-9.1-1-7. "The money in the trust fund is appropriated to the budget agency for providing the retiree 27 health benefit plan developed under IC 5-10-8.5." [Updated Again: Read this closely, and in conjunction with this ILB entry from May 31st]

p. 129, line 4- - SECTION 62 - capital improvement board - state investment in obligations of

p. 135, line 17 - SECTION 74. Deals with assessment of golf courses.

p. 290, line 43, SECTION 254-256. Makes changes in the new law authorizing use of golf carts on city streets.

p. 302, line 12, SECTION 282 - virtual charter schools

p. 339, line 23 SECTION 360 - local official may waive compensation

p.. 372 (starting here or perhaps before), CIB related, continues through 388, at least

p. 398, line 20, SECTION 437 - creates big gaming study committee

p. 402, line 442, SECTION 442 - repeals CIB

Note. A number of items I've seen in prior versions are not included here. Also, the "Augmentation allowed" language seems pretty remarkable to me, given the constraints of Article 3, Sec. 1 and of Article 10, Sec. 3 of the Indiana Constitution. Finally, I highlighted the Notre Dame appropriations because of this April 20th ILB entry.

[Updated] I ran a search of the budget bill for the phrase "augmentation allowed" and found 199 instances, in addition to the definition itself. The augmentation concept, along with the longstanding authorization granted the Governor to elect to not allocate appropriations, found here in SECTION 30 at p. 104, line 37:

SECTION 30. [EFFECTIVE JULY 1, 2009] Subject to SECTION 25 of this act as it relates to the budget committee, the budget agency with the approval of the governor may withhold allotments of any or all appropriations contained in this act for the 2009-2011 biennium, if it is considered necessary to do so in order to prevent a deficit financial situation.
pretty much means that this budget, if passed, is only a starting point. Nothing is written in stone -- an appropriation may be augmented, or the allotment of an appropriation may be withheld, at the determination of "the Governor and the Budget Agency," sometimes with the "advisory recommendation" of the state budget committee.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on June 23, 2009 07:42 PM
Posted to Indiana Government | Indiana Law