January 12, 2011


Highlights from Daniels' State of the State speech (AP, 1/11/11)

Gov. Mitch Daniels gave his State of the State address Tuesday night. A look at some of the highlights of the governor's speech and agenda for 2011:

— BALANCED BUDGET: Daniels wants lawmakers to pass a balanced two-year state budget without any general tax increases. Daniels says the two-year budget must spend no more than it takes in no later than its second year. He wants a spending cap that would send taxpayers a refund if revenues improve and state reserves exceed 10 percent of annual needs. Republican leaders have estimated that lawmakers will need to cut $1 billion to close the gap between spending and income and leave a little in the bank.

— SCHOOL CHOICE: Daniels proposed a voucher program that would use taxpayer money to help low-income parents send their children to private schools. Daniels and other supporters say it's a matter of fairness that low-income families have the same education options as wealthier families. But opponents say vouchers take money away from cash-strapped public schools and blur the line between church and state. Daniels also proposed a $3,500 scholarship for high school students who graduate a year early that could be used to pay for postsecondary education in Indiana. Some education leaders have questioned how the program might affect high schools and whether high school seniors as young as 16 are mature enough to handle college life.

— CHANGES FOR TEACHERS: Daniels wants merit pay for teachers and wants to use student academic success — as measured by test scores — to help determine how a teacher is performing.

Posted by Orrin Judd at January 12, 2011 5:36 AM
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