state budget surplus

Brian Hefele / https://www.flickr.com/photos/brhefele/6973020335

Senate lawmakers and House Democrats pushed back Monday against those advocating for the House Republican road funding proposal and its two tax increases. 

Lawmakers heard about an hour of public testimony on road funding from local government officials and road construction industry representatives.  And the people who testified all say none of the plans offered this year provide a permanent solution. 

Jim Grey / https://www.flickr.com/photos/mobilene/

The road funding plans moving through the House and Senate would mark a first: they'd reduce the amount of money the state considers an adequate reserve.

Three decades ago, House Speaker Brian Bosma (R-Indianapolis) recalls, the state thought a six-and-a-half-percent surplus was enough, only to discover in the 1991 recession that it wasn't.

“That was clear that that was not the case in the recessions of the 90s. We moved ourselves up to about nine-or-10-percent,” Bosma says. “It was clear that that was not sufficient for the recession of 2007 and '08.”

Jim Grey / https://www.flickr.com/photos/mobilene/4073489845

Legislators' quest for money for road maintenance may be the death knell for Indiana's automatic tax rebate.

Governor Mitch Daniels pushed through the law in 2011 giving taxpayers money back if the state surplus grew beyond 12.5-percent of spending.

The next year, Daniels' last as governor, the state cleared that threshold, and Hoosiers received $111 per taxpayer in 2013.

Governor Pence's road plan includes $240 million from the surplus, leaving the state an 11.5-percent reserve.

Hammond Mayor Considering Challenging John Gregg

Aug 11, 2015
City of Hammond

One potential candidate for governor needs to get through this year's elections first.

Thomas McDermott, Jr. hasn't been mentioned much in gubernatorial discussions since announcing he'd run for a fourth term as mayor of Hammond. But he never ruled out back-to-back races, and says he's still pondering what his next political step should be.

McDermott had said he wouldn't run if one of the candidates already running took firm control of the race.

Keith Cooper / https://www.flickr.com/photos/cooperweb/8363160192

With only three days left in session, lawmakers are crafting a final version of the budget, and doing so with less money than they’d planned. 

Senate Leader David Long (R-Fort Wayne) and House Speaker Brian Bosma (R-Indianapolis) both say money for K-12 education is safe – the $466 million increase in both House and Senate budgets will remain intact. 

And Long says they’re standing firm on maintaining a strong budget reserve.

“I think it’s important to do that given our recent memories of how tough it was when the recession hit,” Long says.

Senate Budget To Follow House, Increase School Funding

Feb 25, 2015
Noah Coffey / https://www.flickr.com/photos/noahwesley/

Senate President Pro Tem David Long says the Senate’s version of the budget will follow the House’s lead in steering more money to schools.

House Republicans’ budget gives schools a nearly half-billion-dollar increase over two years, double what Governor Pence proposed.

Long (R-Fort Wayne) suggests the governor lowballed the figure to give legislators room to increase it. Long says legislators will give schools as much as they can while keeping the budget balanced.

Purdue University

As the 2015 Indiana legislative session approaches, education leaders around the state are readying their pitches for a group of lawmakers charged with writing a budget as they sit on a $2 billion dollar surplus – a surplus everyone has suggestions on to spend.

In his monthly conversation with Purdue President Mitch Daniels, WBAA’s Stan Jastrzebski asks if there’s a way to stop the practice of colleges giving money back to the state.

Keith Cooper / https://www.flickr.com/photos/cooperweb/8363160192

Despite tax revenues that struggled for much of the fiscal year, Indiana closes its book with a surplus of more than $100 million and reserves topping $2 billion.  But Democrats say the state is hoarding money to make its bottom line look good.

Going into the final month of the fiscal year, Indiana was about $50 million short of expectations.  But a strong June helped the state end the year about $13 million above projected levels. 

Brandon Smith / Indiana Public Broadcasting

Indiana will close the books today on the fiscal year that ended June 30. State Auditor Suzanne Crouch updates Hoosiers on how the state’s revenues performed. 

But Crouch’s Democratic opponent in this fall’s election is accusing the Pence administration of “cooking the books.”

Indiana tax collections struggled for much of the fiscal year, prompting Pence to cut state agency and university budgets and even sell one of the state planes. 

Governor Mike Pence says he decided it was more important to pay down state debt this year than put money into the state’s pension stabilization fund. 

Indiana finished the 2013 fiscal year with a nearly half billion dollar surplus, $93 million more than the recently-passed budget bill projected.  Its reserve level of more than $1.9 billion is also higher than expected.

The reserves would have automatically put money into the pension stabilization fund, but Governor Pence says he opted instead to pay off $66 million in bonds for the Miami Correctional Facility.

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