House bill may provide technology funding

The Indiana General Assembly is voting today on House Bill 1001, which could provide Ball State University with $3 million in funding for technology improvements and building restoration.

The bill will distribute $30 million statewide to higher education programs to help relieve money lost in Governor Frank O'Bannon's recent budget cuts.

Thomas Morrison, vice president of the Office of Business Affairs, said the bill is very important to Ball State's financial situation.

"[This bill] will restore some of the funding that has been cut by the governor," said Thomas Morrison, .

Ball State lost around $26 million in funding due to O'Bannon's proposals, and this bill will restore about one seventh of the cuts, Morrison said.

If passed, the bill would adjust the biennium (two year) budget for higher education. Included in the bill are plans for tax restructuring and property assessment reform, as well as deficit management.

The General assembly held the second reading of the bill yesterday, and if they pass the bill, it will move on to the Indiana Senate. Final action must take place byJune 22 when the special assembly called by O'Bannon ends.

The bill calls for major tax changes, including the way property value is assessed.

According to Morrison, Indiana has been using a very old-fashioned method of assessing property value, and this bill will help adjust the process. Along with property assessment adjustments, taxes on gambling will also be affected. Methods used in Indiana have not assessed property on true market value, Morrison said.

"Gambling is certainly one of the things legislators are looking to for revenue," Morrison said.

The bill calls for authorization of permanantly moored gambling vessels under some circumstances, as well as permissions for building additional gambling facilities. The bill also calls for a general increase in tax rates for wagering, gross income, corporate adjusted gross income, sales, cigarette, and tobacco products tax.

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