(AP) — A pair of Republican senators argued Tuesday for the personal
income tax cut that Gov. Mike Pence has made his top priority, while
House Republicans across the hall advanced a budget that swaps that cut
for education and roads spending.
Ways and Means Committee voted 16-7 along party lines to send a $30
billion budget to the House of Representatives. The Senate Tax and
Fiscal Policy Committee, meanwhile, vetted Pence's proposal to cut the
income tax by 10 percent, but declined to vote on it.
center of the debate is how lawmakers will spend a roughly $500 million
annual surplus left by former Gov. Mitch Daniels.
campaigned heavily on the tax cut, which would cost roughly $500 million
a year once phased in. House Republicans, led by Speaker Brian Bosma,
have said the state needs to restore funding cut during the recession.
Democratic lawmakers have pointed out that Daniels left the state with
many debts, including a $2 billion unemployment insurance loan from the
unleash half a billion dollars into the economy. Our taxpayers can make
wiser economic decisions than the government can," said Sen. Mike Delph,
R-Carmel, lead author of the Pence measure in the Senate.
skeptical budget leaders in the House and Senate have either dismissed
the cut, or have been slow to embrace it, saying they would like to wait
until they get new tax collection forecasts in April before signing off
on the measure.
and Fiscal Policy Chairman Brandt Hershman, R-Buck Creek, asked Delph
and the author of a similar tax cut, Sen. Jim Buck, R-Kokomo, if the
state was being forced to cut because the federal government is allowing
taxes to increase.
question is: 'Are we doing so at a cost to our own state services
because the federal government can't get its act together?'" asked
part, Pence has dug in on his signature tax cut and said again this week
that he is "disappointed" in the House GOP changes. The Republican
governor has not ruled out any alternatives to his plan.
really focused on our proposal right now. I think it's essential that as
this budget process moves forward that lowering the marginal income tax
rate by 10 percent be a part of the process," he said. "I was very
disappointed, with record budget surpluses, that the House budget did
not include one cent of new tax relief for Hoosiers. I think we can do
the House budget panel made a few tweaks to the Republican budget plan,
but largely kept it the same. They signed off on $500,000 more for the
Clean Water Indiana Program and added $7 million for education, while
cutting funding for a program former Gov. Robert Orr built to reduce
plan spends roughly $200 million more on education than what Pence had
sought. It also funnels $500 million to the state's transportation fund
by no longer diverting the gas tax to the State Police, Bureau of Motor
Vehicles and elsewhere.
now moves to the House where Democrats hope to force a vote on Pence's
tax cut as well as an alternative budget they're crafting.