House passes bill that might provide BSU with $3 million

The House narrowly passed a measure that could provide Ball State University with $3 million in technological funding through changes in taxes, gambling and the budget Thursday.

House Bill 1001, which passed 51-47, plans to raise the sales tax, cigarette tax and gas tax, and change the income and business taxes.

The bill will also allow for several more gambling facilities to be installed around the state, an increase in the wagering tax, and for riverboat casinos to remain docked, allowing for customers to freely enter and leave the facility.

Democrats made up the majority of the passing vote with 48 votes in favor, while Republicans contributed only three.

Representative Mary Kay Budak, R-LaPorte, changed her "no" to a "yes" at the last minute. Several Republicans and Democrats changed their votes at the last minute.

With the win in the House, the bill makes its way to the Senate. The House members will take a one week break and then return to the Statehouse to being working on a compromise package.

Governor Frank O'Bannon has already said he will call the General Assembly back for a second special session if it fails to raise taxes to address the budget deficit, according to a news release.

Other legislators believe reducing spending is the way to deal with the deficit, which is nearing $1.9 billion.

The bill will also return about $30 million to the state budget for education in Indiana, which was drastically cut by O'Bannon's budget plan.

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

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 the bill is passed, the money that Ball State receives will "provide for some money for technology and restoration of buildings," Morrison said.