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Bill from West Lafayette lawmaker would send Indiana taxpayers receipts

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West Lafayette Senator Spencer Deery explains his legislation during Tuesday’s committee meeting. (Photo taken from a stream of the Tax and Fiscal Policy Committee).

A bill from new Sen. Spencer Deery (R-West Lafayette) got a hearing Tuesday. The legislation would send Indiana taxpayers a receipt showing how their taxes were spent.

Speaking before the Senate Tax and Fiscal Policy Committee, Deery said when residents go to the grocery store they expect a receipt outlining their purchases.

“However, every day Hoosiers are buying government,” he said. “You don’t have to engage in many conversations with our residents to know there is not a lot of clarity in the resident’s eyes, in the Hoosiers’ eyes, of what have they bought?”

The legislation would send statements individualized to each taxpayer.

“One page, simple, easy to read – analogous to a receipt,” he said. “Mathematically, this isn’t a hard thing to devise if we know that approximately 50 percent of our budget goes to K-12 education, then if you’ve paid $1,000then plug in a number and $500 is what you’ve paid for K-12, and then on down the line.”

“So it’s a bill in the name of transparency and it’s a bill in the name of taxpayer education,” Deery added.

Tax and Fiscal Policy Committee Chair Travis Holdman (R-Markle) asked how Deery would feel about tweaking the bill so that it would only send the receipts back to Hoosiers who had filed online, in an effort to reduce the cost of sending out paper receipts. As currently written, the bill would send paper receipts to those who filed through the mail.

Deery said he was amenable to that change.

“I’ve been told the state does not know how many of our taxpayers are filing online versus actually receiving checks and so not knowing that – not knowing what you would be committing to do – so I would be comfortable with that,” he said.

The legislation is the first from Deery, who was elected last year, to get a hearing.

Holdman tried to goad lawmakers into asking Deery about his first bill.

“Now’s your chance for hazing,” Deery quipped.

“You either have a great idea or a terrible idea, because there is nobody signed up to speak on behalf of your bill today, Senator,” Holdman said.

The bill is expected to undergo some minor adjustments before getting a vote.