On Monday, with just one day before the official kickoff of the next legislative session, the Indiana Chamber of Commerce held its legislative preview in downtown Indianapolis. The gathering was a chance to hear from some key lawmakers about the issue at the heart of the next General Assembly session.
The Indiana Fiscal Policy Institute expects the state to have about $13.5 billion of revenue, but up to $14.5 billion of obligatory expenses such as Medicaid and public education. That means state legislators need to make up the difference: as much as $1 billion.
The man just hours away from becoming Speaker of the House is Indianapolis Republican Brian Bosma; who, along with Governor Mitch Daniels has pledged not to use tax increases to fill that gap. That means cuts, and Bosma says while he thinks K-12 education funding will be protected, the rest of the budget is under scrutiny.
“Every other area of state government expenditure will have to have a hard look,” Bosma says. “Do we need to spend this money? Do we need to perform this function? And if we decide we do, is this the most efficient way to perform it?”
The current state budget is padded with about $1 billion dollars of state reserves plus more than $2.5 billion more in federal stimulus money.