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Pence sees hope for tax cut in better budget forecast

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A sunny budget picture unveiled to state lawmakers Tuesday virtually guaranteed Gov. Mike Pence will get at least a piece of the $500 million cut to the personal income tax he has been seeking.

House and Senate budget leaders said they plan on approving a $500 million package of tax cuts as part of the biennial budget, but how much each cut will comprise has yet to be determined. The news came as state revenue forecasters released new estimates that the state will collect $290 million more than expected in the coming years.

Pence's staff believes the additional money expected to roll in shows that the state can approve a tax cut.

A slowly improving economy contributed to the more optimistic estimate, even as proceeds from the state's gambling industry decline amid new competition across state borders. All of which comes as good news for Pence, the freshman governor, who has struggled to win support for his tax cut.

House Ways and Means Chairman Tim Brown, R-Crawfordsville, said he sees cuts to the personal income tax, corporate income tax, inheritance tax and financial institutions tax all being included in the final budget. The Senate budget proposed the immediate elimination of the inheritance tax, the cut in the financial institutions tax and a $150 million, or 3 percent, cut to the personal income tax.

"We'll continue to have those discussions, again we're still analyzing how those two documents will fit together," Brown said.

The House approved budget calls for roughly $500 million in new roads spending, in addition to the restoration of $331 million in education spending. The Senate approved a similar budget that instead calls for $400 million to invest in a highway expansion plan, $500 million in a series of tax cuts and the additional education money the House approved.

House and Senate negotiators plan to meet Wednesday to begin work on a compromise.

What exactly counts as a "cut" has become a battle of semantics for House lawmakers and the Pence administration. Brown said there will be no additional corporate tax cuts, beyond the phase-in of the 2-percent cut lawmakers already approved. But Pence and his supporters previously said the budget needed to include "new" tax cuts.

Talk of any cut to the income tax marks a minor victory for Pence, from where things stood just a month ago, when House leaders were openly scrapping with the governor. But Pence's staff say they're not ready to give in on the full tax cut just yet.

"We haven't gotten to the point of what we're willing to accept yet," Budget Director Chris Atkins said. "I certainly think this means we can do road and school funding somewhere closer to the House and Senate versions of the budget, alongside our proposed income tax relief."

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  1. The deductible is entirely paid by the POWER account. No one ever has to contribute more than $25/month into the POWER account and it is often less. The only cost not paid out of the POWER account is the ER copay ($8-25) for non-emergent use of the ER. And under HIP 2.0, if a member calls the toll-free, 24 hour nurse line, and the nurse tells them to go to the ER, the copay is waived. It's also waived if the member is admitted to the hospital. Honestly, although it is certainly not "free" - I think Indiana has created a decent plan for the currently uninsured. Also consider that if a member obtains preventive care, she can lower her monthly contribution for the next year. Non-profits may pay up to 75% of the contribution on behalf of the member, and the member's employer may pay up to 50% of the contribution.

  2. I wonder if the governor could multi-task and talk to CMS about helping Indiana get our state based exchange going so Hoosiers don't lose subsidy if the court decision holds. One option I've seen is for states to contract with healthcare.gov. Or maybe Indiana isn't really interested in healthcare insurance coverage for Hoosiers.

  3. So, how much did either of YOU contribute? HGH Thank you Mr. Ozdemir for your investments in this city and your contribution to the arts.

  4. So heres brilliant planning for you...build a $30 M sports complex with tax dollars, yet send all the hotel tax revenue to Carmel and Fishers. Westfield will unlikely never see a payback but the hotel "centers" of Carmel and Fishers will get rich. Lousy strategy Andy Cook!

  5. AlanB, this is how it works...A corporate welfare queen makes a tiny contribution to the arts and gets tons of positive media from outlets like the IBJ. In turn, they are more easily to get their 10s of millions of dollars of corporate welfare (ironically from the same people who are against welfare for humans).

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