INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -
Indiana’s state tax revenues have largely stabilized from the plunges seen
early in the coronavirus-caused recession, although state budget leaders
warned Wednesday that money could remain tight as legislators begin work on
a new two-year spending plan.
projections presented to the State Budget Committee showed Indiana could end
the current budget year next June 30 with about $2.3 billion in reserves.
That would be nearly the same level the state had in June 2019 - and a
significant turnaround considering the state saw a 23% drop in tax revenue
during the March-June period this year with widespread business closures and
other restrictions prompted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
projections estimate state government collecting 2.2% and 3% more in the
next two years, although much of that could be consumed by expected
increases in state expenses toward the Medicaid program providing health
coverage for low-income residents.
avoided funding cuts for this year even as Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb’s
administration ordered spending reductions for most state agencies.
While state budget
leaders said Wednesday that protecting school funding would be a priority
during the upcoming legislative session, they held out little prospect for
much additional money toward boosting Indiana’s lagging teacher pay just
days after a Holcomb-appointed commission released recommendations that
could cost more than $600 million a year.
Appropriations Committee Chairman Ryan Mishler, a Republican from Bremen,
said he believed avoiding school funding cuts with the recession will be a
“The way today is
playing out is a flatline is a win, even in K-12 when other states are
making drastic cuts,” Mishler said. “So, in Indiana I don’t think you’re
going see a cut in K-12 like other states.”
Republican-written spending plan approved in 2019 increased base funding for
traditional schools by about 2% a year.
lobbyist Dennis Costerison said the new state revenue projections were a
relief after more dismal expectations a few months ago and that he was
hopeful of lawmakers avoiding school funding cuts in the new state budget
that’s expected to be approved in late April.
“I’m not very
optimistic that the General Assembly will look at making any major
adjustments to the school formula and adding a lot of new money,” said
Costerison, executive director of the Indiana Association of School Business
Officials. “They are just trying to keep a flat line. I think that will be