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How Low Revenues Could Affect Legislative Priorities

February tax revenues were $54 million short of projected levels, putting the state $90 million below expectations for the fiscal year.

Gov. Pence speaks at a podium at a press conference.

Photo: Gov. Mike Pence

Gov. Pence responds to latest low revenue.

Indiana revenues continue to lag behind projections after last month’s  tax collections were hampered by severe winter weather.

February tax revenues were $54 million short of projected levels, hit hard by sales tax collections that missed the mark by 35 percent.

Through eight months of the fiscal year, Indiana is nearly $90 million below expectations.

Governor Mike Pence says the extreme winter weather that’s gripped Indiana for much of the last two months made these numbers no surprise.

“I’m very confident that we’ll be able to use the budget authority that we have under Indiana law to manage our resources and maintain a strong fiscal foundation,” he says.

Pence says he believes some of his legislative proposals, including cutting the business personal property tax and creating a preschool pilot program, are still possible.

But Rep. Greg Porter, D-Indianapolis, calls the revenue numbers “disturbing” and says the agenda needs to be reevaluated.

“When you’re talking about business personal property taxes and giving up corporate taxes as well as other programs, where’s the money going to come from?” he says.

Senate Appropriations Chair Luke Kenley says all of the state’s revenue woes can’t be blamed on winter weather.

“When I talk, I’m talking about an eight month figure and I don’t know how much snow we had last July, August and September, but it wasn’t much, okay?  So I’m focusing on the bigger picture and I’m still seeing things that are concerning me,” he says.

Kenley says he thinks the legislative session has been successful because of progress made on discussions around the business personal property tax and pre-k education, but notes that he’d like to see the discussions continue until next session, when the legislature will write a new budget.

Pence cut state agency and university budgets three months ago in response to troubling revenue figures.

He would not say whether more cuts are coming.

Brandon Smith, IPBS

Brandon Smith, IPBS 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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