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ILS budget likely to increase

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Thanks to a $40 million increase in funding for Legal Services Corporations signed by President Barack Obama Wednesday, an official at Indiana Legal Services Inc. estimates that the only Indiana-based organization that receives funding from LSC will receive up to an additional $300,000 to $350,000 in funds for the organization's 2009 fiscal year, which runs Jan. 1 to Dec. 31.

The $40 million, which brings the national total from $350 million to $390 million, represents an approximately 11 percent increase over 2008 LSC funds. However, $365.8 million of the $390 million is what the LSC will distribute to the 137 LSC-funded legal aid programs in the U.S., or a 9 percent increase for individual programs' funding.

Of the ILS's 2008 budget, approximately 65 percent, or $5.1 million, was from LSC, according to Norman Metzger, executive director of ILS. The organization also receives donations from United Way chapters around the state, foundations, and private donors.

He said in addition to helping the LSC-funded programs, the $40 million in extra funding will also go toward funding technology advancements, loan repayment assistance, LSC's national headquarters, and LSC's oversight of the programs that receive grants.

The amount ILS will receive for 2009 based on this increase is "just a guess," Metzger said, but is based on a formula that uses the percentage of Indiana residents who live below the poverty line as of the latest census, taken in 2000. The percent Indiana receives is not due to change until 2010 census numbers are available.

Metzger said the ILS will know for sure April 1 when they receive their direct deposit from LSC, and he also expects an e-mail or other notice from the LSC in the next few days explaining how the increase will affect ILS.

A more in-depth article about the increase will be in a future issue of Indiana Lawyer.
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