Indiana Senate Democrats say a budget session is all about prioritizing – and their priority is to help working class Hoosiers.
The top item on the Senate Democrats’ agenda is what they call “giving Hoosier families a raise.” Portage Senator Karen Tallian says that begins with increasing the state’s minimum wage.
She notes 29 states have a higher minimum wage than Indiana.
“If you work 40 hours a week, you should not be below the federal poverty level,” Tallian said. “Indiana has a household income problem.”
Democrats will also propose increasing the state’s Earned Income Tax Credit, getting rid of textbook fees for public school students, and expanding a mental health pilot program for incarcerated offenders to more counties.
All those proposals would cost state dollars; in some cases quite a lot. But Minority Leader Tim Lanane says that pales in comparison to what the state’s ongoing corporate tax cuts cost.
“Now yes, you can say, ‘Well, 80 million here, 120 million there, it all adds up,’” Lanane said. “Well yes, and a billion dollars year after year continues to add up.”
Senate President Pro Tem David Long opposes an increase to the state’s minimum wage, noting Indiana’s lower cost of living makes it unnecessary.