State lawmakers to return for special session on July 6th

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("Indiana State Capitol Building" by Drew Tarvin, CC BY 2.0)

Everything is set for state lawmakers to return to the State Capitol building on July 6th for a special session of the legislature.

The plan is to tackle a proposed inflationary relief plan from Gov. Eric Holcomb. It would return $225, $700 to married couples, to individual Hoosiers who filed state taxes in 2021.

“This is the fastest, fairest, and most efficient way to return taxpayers’ hard-earned money during a time of economic strain,” said Gov. Holcomb in an emailed statement. “Indiana’s economy is growing and with more than $1 billion of revenue over current projections, Hoosier taxpayers deserve to have their money responsibly returned.”

Some Democrats, like State Rep. Greg Porter (D-Indianapolis), couldn’t agree more.

“I’m glad (Holcomb) has finally taken some initiative to move forward to try and get some help to Hoosiers who are hurting,” Porter told WISH-TV. “We have a $7 billion surplus. We need to give those dollars back to individuals who helped build that surplus.”

Still, Porter feels that the state can afford to do more, such as suspending the state’s gas tax. That tax will go up even more from the 56 extra cents you’re paying now on July 1st. Porter is hoping Republicans will be open to at least discussing it further.

“If we don’t do that, then we are neglecting Hoosiers,” Porter said. “That really bothers me. It’s about that ‘human infrastructure that we need to take care of in our state.”

Many economists agree that the state can afford to suspend its gas tax. Dr. Matt Will, an economist at the University of Indianapolis, said last week that it’s a better plan for the state to suspend its tax rather than the federal government to suspend federal gas taxes.

“Cutting the gas tax is a good idea. It doesn’t cause inflation because the state government can’t print money,” Will said on WIBC’s Tony Katz Today. “The federal government decreasing the gas tax can cause inflation if they do it in the temporary sense the way Biden wants to do.”

With that, President Biden is asking Congress to approve a three-month-long “tax holiday” in which the federal government’s 18-cent gas tax would be suspended. He is also calling on states to suspend their state-level gas taxes to help lower the price of gas. It’s something Porter is hoping they can find some common ground on.

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