INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -
Indiana will collect more than $1 billion in new tax revenue to spend in the
next two-year state budget, but also will take in about $300 million less
than the General Assembly budgeted for in the current fiscal year, the
state’s latest revenue forecast released Thursday projects.
projected shortfall this year, the incoming administration of Republican
Gov.-elect Eric Holcomb likely will not have to make major cuts to bring
this year’s budget into balance, said state Sen. Luke Kenley, R-Noblesville,
chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee.
A surplus in the
state’s Medicaid budget and lower-than-expected K-12 school enrollment
should cover the gap, Kenley and House Ways and Means Chairman Rep. Tim
Brown, R-Crawfordsville, said.
attributed most of this year’s shortfall to lower than expected sales tax
revenues, driven largely by lower gas prices.
Despite a forecast
of revenue growth of 2.9 percent in fiscal year 2018 and 3.9 percent in
fiscal year 2019, Brown and Kenley were cautious.
“There are so many
things on the horizon that could derail this forecast,” Brown said.
budget ending June 30 spends about $30 billion. The revenue growth will
allow Holcomb and leaders of the Republican-dominated General Assembly to
spend the extra money on priority items such as new highway spending,
combating opioid addiction and expanding the state’s preschool pilot program
for low-income students.
However, the state
must retain a strong surplus and spend cautiously, Kenley said.
economy has been growing for 85 months without signs of a recession, “and we
know those always come about,” he said.
State Sen. Karen
Tallian, D-Portage, the top Democrat on the Senate Appropriations Committee,
said it’s obvious the national economic expansion currently underway isn’t
reaching most Hoosiers.
“We are not seeing
such a rosy picture,” Tallian said. “It is clear Indiana won’t have a lot of
extra money to put into the next budget."