The Journal Gazette
Saturday, May 09, 2020 1:00 am

State coffers short $964 million

April decline attributed to delaying income tax deadline

NIKI KELLY | The Journal Gazette

INDIANAPOLIS – Indiana tax collections were short $964 million in April, budget officials said Friday.

“Needless to say the remainder of the fiscal year will be challenging,” said Cris Johnston, head of the Indiana Office of Management and Budget.

He said almost $800 million of the amount is due to the filing deadline for income taxes shifting from April 15 to July 15. The rest is a drop in sales, gaming and corporate taxes.

Johnston said the state will still receive some of the expected money in July but he can't ignore the risk that some people might be unable to pay.

He said state agencies will soon be asked to reduce spending – a move that could result in cuts to education or other state services.

Indiana went into the pandemic with more than $2 billion in surplus and Johnston said the state hasn't yet had to tap into it thanks in part to some federal funding that has come to Indiana to cover additional health expenses.

The surplus will be needed, though, to close the books in June without a deficit.

Johnston's sobering comments came during Gov. Eric Holcomb's daily COVID-19 briefing.

The Indiana State Department of Health announced 675 additional Hoosiers have been diagnosed with COVID-19, bringing the total to 23,146. A total of 1,328 Hoosiers have been confirmed to have died of COVID-19, an increase of 33 over the previous day.

In Allen County, 20 more residents testing positive and another resident died, bringing the total to 770 cases and 60 deaths Friday.

Holcomb was asked directly whether he is gambling with people's lives with his phased reopening as testing still lags and the statewide contact tracing effort is not yet up and running.

“No, we are not gambling with people's lives. We are making decisions,” he said. “First and foremost is health and managing this health crisis ... it's got to do with lives and livelihoods so we are dealing with a jobs road map as well – trying to get people back to work safely.”

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