Chairman Zody’s statement on the 2017 legislative session

INDIANAPOLIS – Indiana Democratic Party Chairman John Zody issued the following statement after state lawmakers concluded the 2017 legislative session.

Biggest miss of the session

“The critical question surrounding the 2017 General Assembly is how will Hoosiers’ lives be improved by the Legislature’s actions? What’s most evident this session is what Statehouse Republicans didn’t do: prioritize raising Hoosier families’ incomes. In fact, Statehouse Republicans spent more time talking about raising Governor Holcomb’s pay than debating measures to raise Hoosier families’. It’s a blatant oversight, and the session’s greatest failure. Coupled with misfires on redistricting reform and a hate crimes law, this session was punctuated by missed opportunities.

State budget

“The notion that Statehouse GOP are fiscally responsible rings false. Out of one side of their mouth, GOP leaders demand more taxes from working Hoosiers. Out of the other, trumpeting nearly $2 billion in reserves and a scheduled 42 percent cut in corporate taxes. If Hoosier Republicans are going to celebrate their ‘honestly-balanced’ budget, they should celebrate the school closings and classroom consolidations that are a direct result. If budgets are about priorities, what does it say about Statehouse Republicans’ when their budget puts corporate tax cuts ahead of keeping schools open and putting more children in preschool classrooms?”

Preschool

“Proposed funding for preschool is not enough. It’s a $10 million annual increase in a $16 billion annual budget. It’s estimated there are nearly 85,000 four-year-olds in Indiana and the current funding level supports 2,300 students. Even if the number of spots doubles, Statehouse Republicans think funding one spot for every 20 preschoolers is good progress. It’s why Indiana’s education rankings consistently trail the nation. These kids are only four-years-old once. By dragging their feet on high-quality preschool, Statehouse Republicans are putting Hoosier kids’ future success at risk. Underinvesting in our future will cost Hoosier taxpayers in the long run.

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