Pence's higher-ed cuts could irk Indiana lawmakers

Tim Goral's picture
Monday, August 18, 2014

Universities were among the hardest hit state-funded entities during the so-called Great Recession. Or maybe it's fairer to give that designation to college students, who faced higher tuition and fees as lawmakers pulled back on funding their schools.

But in the last couple of years, lawmakers have been trying to change that. They increased funding for higher education in the current two-year budget and asked universities in exchange to keep their tuition hikes in check.

Now, some key fiscal leaders are worried their work could be thwarted by Gov. Mike Pence and his efforts to maintain and even grow the state's $2 billion reserves. The conflict could prove interesting as lawmakers prepare to write the next two-year budget.

This summer, Pence ordered state universities to put 2 percent of the money appropriated for this year by the General Assembly in reserves. That's some $27.5 million that State Budget Director Brian Bailey said schools will only be allowed to use if tax receipts meet projections in the first 11 months of the fiscal year.

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