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Fiscal Analyst: Surplus Could Drive Next Legislative Session


Photo: Jasont82 (Wikimedia)

A spate of lawmakers in their first or second terms in office may mean the state surplus gets spent down in the coming state budget.

The Indiana Fiscal Policy Institute says the state surplus will put pressure on the governor and legislature to increase spending.

President John Ketzenberger says the surplus may whet some leaders’ appetites.

“With the surplus that‘s there, it‘s probably going to be very tempting for the governor and the legislature to spend on programs,” Ketzenberger says. “There‘s probably a lot of pent up demand given the austerity that we’ve seen over the last couple of years.”

He adds calls for more education funding may lead the way.

“You‘re going to see a real push for additional money flowing into the classrooms and through the districts,” Ketzenberger says. “I think that there‘s some worry, concern about infrastructure in the state and I think you‘ll see some push for that. And I‘ll think you‘ll also see some of the welfare programs beyond Medicaid.”

An Institute report, called “Indiana’s Fiscal Condition – A Different Set of Policy Choices” points to unique circumstances facing the state after the November election. For the first time in eight years, the state will have a new governor.

Ketzenberger says it is likely, too, that nearly 40 percent of the members of the General Assembly will be entering their first or second terms. Add the fact there will be a new chair of the House Ways and Means Committee, and Ketzenberger predicts a most interesting session from a fiscal perspective.

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