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Indiana will get $3.3 billion more in current budget cycle, says new forecast

Rep. Tim Brown (R-Crawfordsville), left, and Sen. Ryan Mishler (R-Bremen), right, are at odds over how to spend increased state dollars during the upcoming legislative session. (Brandon Smith/IPB News)

Indiana is set to collect an additional $3 billion in the current budget than state fiscal leaders planned for, according to a new revenue forecast unveiled Thursday.

Yet House and Senate Republicans remain at an impasse over how to spend that money in the upcoming legislative session – a non-budget session.

The new forecast projects Indiana will end the next two fiscal years with unprecedented budget reserves – $5.1 billion and $4 billion, respectively.

House Republican fiscal leader Rep. Tim Brown (R-Crawfordsville) said his caucus will push hard in the 2022 session for tax cuts.

"This revenue forecast, I think, supports our position," Brown said. "We look forward to how citizens have worked hard and deserve a break."

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Senate GOP fiscal leader Sen. Ryan Mishler (R-Bremen), however, preaches caution. He noted that lawmakers already created provisions in state law that will likely send $2.6 billion to pay down a teacher pension fund next year and potentially trigger another automatic taxpayer refund in 2023.

“So, I think we’re in a good position and come next December, when we have the next forecast and we’re putting our next budget together, you might see some more programs that we can do,” Mishler said.

Neither Mishler nor Brown anticipate the state spending more money on government programs in the 2022 session, which is what Statehouse Democrats are calling for – including support for health care, teacher pay and student loan debt.

"Our state’s human infrastructure has been woefully neglected, and this is not the time for additional unnecessary tax cuts for big corporations," said Rep. Greg Porter (D-Indianapolis).

Democrats applaud President Joe Biden and Congressional Democrats' COVID-19 relief package and recent infrastructure bill as drivers behind the significant increase in state revenue.

Contact reporter Brandon at bsmith@ipbs.org or follow him on Twitter at @brandonjsmith5.
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