The Journal Gazette
Thursday, April 18, 2019 1:00 am

Less funds available for budget

$100 million in updated forecast

NIKI KELLY | The Journal Gazette

INDIANAPOLIS – Lawmakers will have to adjust their budget priorities by about $100 million following an updated revenue forecast Wednesday.

The analysis shows tax collections growing but at slower rates than initially forecast in December – a drop of about $30 million in revenue.

On top of that, an updated Medicaid forecast shows increased net expenses of about $65 million.

That equals about $100 million in changes to a $34.6 billion budget expected to be approved next week.

“This does change things a little bit,” said Senate budget steward Sen. Ryan Mishler, R-Bremen. “We will see what we're willing to cut out.”

While individual income taxes will not be as robust, analysts expect corporate income taxes to jump higher than expected.

Some of this is due to higher corporate profits while there was also a technical change on whether taxes were being recorded as individual instead of corporate.

Rep. Todd Huston, R-Fishers, said leaders were pleasantly surprised by revenue increases in December, and the April update is largely the same.

“We can work it out,” he said, noting funding K-12 education is still the top priority.

Sen. Karen Tallian, D-Ogden Dunes, said: “the numbers show that we will still have plenty of money to fully fund public education, teacher salaries and the Department of Child Services. The next few days will be spent in negotiations as we hope to get more Senate Democratic priorities in the budget as it is finalized.”

The session must finish by midnight April 29, but leaders hope to end early next week.


House OKs paying exonerated

In other legislative news, the House voted 86-2 to give final approval to a state payment for those wrongfully convicted and imprisoned. 

House Bill 1150 generally would allow someone exonerated of a crime to seek a payment of $50,000 per year they were incarcerated. To receive the money, individuals would have to dismiss any existing civil lawsuit or agree not to sue in the future.

Indiana is one of 17 states that provides no compensation for exonerated prisoners.

If approved for payment, it would be split over five yearly installments, under the legislation. 

The bill now goes to the governor for his signature. 

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