LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- A $36 billion state budget proposal is now in the hands of the Indiana Senate.
The Indiana House plan, House Bill No. 1001, increases cigarette tax by 50 cents, provides more money for school voucher programs and includes several one-time investments.
"We believe that the senate should and will change some of these things," said Jennifer Smith-Margraf, vice president of Indiana State Teachers Associations.
The House budget proposal included one-time investments in small businesses, health, broadband and law enforcement.
The plan gives kindergarten through 12th grade schools an additional $378 million over the next two years, but more than a third of that amount will go to the voucher program.
While supporters of the budget said money should follow students, the Indiana State Teacher's Association doesn't agree.
"That's like saying we fund drivers not highways," Smith-Margraf said. "We need to make sure that we have very strong, public education systems for all of our students, because that is the backbone of our society, and it is a driver of our economy."
The teacher association wants the budget to add $600 million, which was recommended by the state teacher pay commission report. The proposal doesn't include funding for food banks, but those measures could come up again in the senate.
Copyright 2021 WDRB Media. All Rights Reserved.