Where does the money go in Indiana's state budget?
The vast majority of state budget funding comes from taxes, whether state or federal. But where, exactly, does it then go? That’s a question our listeners have been asking.
There are more than 850 line items in the state budget, individual spending amounts that make up more than $44 billion in total budget spending.
The largest is tuition support, the primary source of K-12 school funding. It’s nearly $18 billion, about 40 percent of total budget spending.
Other big line items include Medicaid funding, dollars for the Department of Child Services and big pots of money for the Indiana Economic Development Corporation.
There are also a few dozen line items that are less than $100,000 a year. That includes everything from investigating real estate appraisers to youth tobacco prevention to constructing and maintaining snowmobile trails.
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Lawmakers have a lot of flexibility to decide how they use tax money toward all those line items. But there are some tax dollars that don’t have such flexibility. Indiana Fiscal Policy Institute President Stephanie Wells said those are known as dedicated funds.
“A really good example would be transportation funding,” Wells said. “Our roads and streets and those kinds of infrastructure investments have dedicated funds that are paid for out of gas taxes and other fuel taxes.”
About 13 percent of the state budget is dedicated funds.
This story is a part of Civically, Indiana — a project to answer both the how and why of Indiana’s state government. To take part in the conversation or find stories like this, join our text group The Indiana Two-Way by texting the word "Indiana" to 73224.