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House And Senate Look For Ways To Reconcile Refund Bills

Indiana House and Senate bills both seek to find a use for the state's surplus, but in different ways.

tax refund

Photo: Christina Castro (Flickr)

The House bill would give the first $200 million back to taxpayers in the form of a tax refund.

Two bills that make changes to Indiana’s automatic taxpayer refund look to be in conflict with each other.

Under current law, if the state’s reserves exceed an amount equal to ten percent of the state budget, any leftover cash is split evenly between a taxpayer refund and the state’s teacher pension fund. House Ways and Means Chair Jeff Espich’s bill would send the first $200 million to the taxpayers. The next $200 million would be sent to the pension fund, and anything more than that is split 50-50 between the two.

Senate Appropriations Chair Luke Kenley’s bill gives all the money to the pension fund if the surplus is under $100 million and splits the surplus 50-50 if it is over that amount. Kenley says that is not his only problem with the current refund system.

“I think we need to have a larger reserve,” he says. “I think we just are squeezing ourselves a little too tightly to be able to deal with any emergencies.”

Kenley’s bill raises the level at which a refund would kick in to fifteen percent of the state budget. Espich says the threshold might need to be raised, but not that much.

“I mean, it’s two billion dollars, and, you know, this place, quite frankly, can’t keep two billion dollars in the bank,” he says. “We either get accused of being a bank or we spend it.  Either one is bad.”

Both Espich and Kenley say they will look for ways to compromise on the differences between their bills.

 

Brandon Smith

Brandon Smith has previously worked as a reporter and anchor for KBIA Radio in Columbia, MO, and at WSPY Radio in Plano, IL as a show host, reporter, producer and anchor. Brandon graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a Bachelor of Journalism in 2010, with minors in political science and history. He was born and raised in Chicago.

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