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Republicans Release Budget Including Surplus Provision

Indiana Statehouse

Photo: Dan Goldblatt (WFIU News)

The deadline to pass the 2011 budget is midnight Friday.

After three days of negotiations behind closed doors, House and Senate Republicans released what they hope is the final version of the state budget.  One of the most significant changes is the restoration of a taxpayer refund provision.  If the state reaches a surplus of ten percent, taxpayers will receive an automatic deduction.  Budget coauthor Luke Kenley said  perhaps the greatest accomplishment is what’s not in the budget — a tax increase.

“That will help us stimulate our economy.  We’re producing a good business environment and we’re moving forward.  We’re focused on education, good management, good stewardship, trying to produce a vibrant, health economy,” Kenley said.

But Democrats say they’d like to see better education funding and a three-month gas tax suspension.  Michigan City Representative Scott Pelath said more can be done to help working class Hoosiers.

“I do understand the tough choices that you have to make,” Pelath said.  “But I think in some cases we’ve made some of the wrong tough choices.”

Some Democrat budget requests were granted, including the full funding of CHOICE, a home healthcare program for seniors.  The budget now goes before the House and Senate Friday.  The deadline to pass it is midnight.

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