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$1.5 billion expected for Indiana’s new state budget



Indianapolis, Indiana – According to state income forecasts released on Wednesday, lawmakers in Indiana should have an additional $1.5 billion for the upcoming two-year budget.

That’s because, in accordance with a bipartisan review carried out by state authorities, Indiana is on track to raise more tax money than was previously anticipated last December.

The state budget for the upcoming two years is heavily influenced by the state revenue forecast.

Tom Jackson, chief economist at S&P Global Market Intelligence, told legislators that although Indiana’s economic growth is decreasing, it is still anticipated to persist in some capacity.

“We don’t see a recession, per se, which really is kind of negative growth,” he said.

“We’re just fortunate to be in that position,” State Sen. Ryan Mishler (R-Mishawaka) said after the announcement.

Mishler, the chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee, expressed his optimism that additional money for improved mental health services could be made possible by the increased revenue. How that will be paid for is still being discussed by House and Senate members.

“We’ll talk after this meeting probably and start talking about the cigarette tax, the 988 [phone bill surcharge], different things that have been thrown out, but this does add another option,” Mishler said.

Mishler stated that he does not anticipate lawmakers changing their suggested spending level for public health departments. Republican budget ideas for the Senate and the House only allocate two-thirds of the funds that Governor Eric Holcomb requested.

“I think you have a lot of members that just have some issues with the bill itself, so that will be a tougher one probably to increase the funding,” Mishler said.

Democrats, though, contend that financing for public health has to be prioritized and are in disagreement.

“Public health is very important to us as well, Senate Bill 1 and the mental health,” said State Rep. Greg Porter (D-Indianapolis), ranking minority member of the House Ways and Means committee.

Porter says that politicians should increase their expenditure goals in light of the revenue forecast. Democrats have put out a number of budgetary proposals, including steps toward universal pre-K, which Republicans oppose.

“They keep talking about the recession, they’re pushing it out further and further, so don’t think it’s going to slow us down for the next year or two,” Porter said.

The new two-year budget must be completed and approved by lawmakers by April 29.

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