Extra funding for Regional Cities is up in the air

Speaker of the House, Brian Bosma, R-Indianapolis, addresses media about the recent actions in the Indiana General Assembly.

By Max Bomber

Gov. Mike Pence’s Regional Cities Initiative is under debate due the need for an additional $42 million.

The law creates a grant program that enables neighboring communities to work together as a region to promote economic development, quality of life and help attract talent and investment.

Originally, the Regional Cities Initiative was to identify two winners, but in December, Pence chose three winners and announced plans to request additional funding from the General Assembly.

“I am encouraging all our members to meet with their Senate colleagues and their counterparts in the Democrat caucus and bring their discussions on critical issues to a close,” said House Speaker, Brian Bosma, R-Indianapolis.

Bosma said he had not been aware of the opposition the bill was going to face in the Ways and Means Committee, before the bill passed the Senate.

“We’re talking about it. It’s a good program, so we are trying to decide the best course on that one,” said Bosma.

He thinks the bill will need extra help to pass the Ways and Means Committee.

Minority Floor Leader, Scott Pelath, D-Michigan, said he would consider being a part of that help.

“If they come and ask us for votes, we might have an idea or two. That has to happen first,” he said.

President Pro Tempore, David Long, R-Fort Wayne, said the Senate would be happy to find a place for the Regional Cities bill.

“I do think the fact it has such strong support in three of our largest communities in Indiana, plus, many other regions who failed to get into the final cut this year… bodes well, I think, for the bill in the end. But we have a path to travel on that as well,” he said.

Long said the Regional Cities legislation is strong enough to pass on its own, but does think the discussion will go down to the wire.