The legislative session gaveled in on Monday for lawmakers to discuss and debate potential new laws for the state of Indiana.
The biggest discussion of this session was how Indiana leaders will spend your tax money over the next two years. Lawmakers will spend the next four months hammering out a budget that will likely center around three main tenants.
“We have three big asks in this budget,” said Stephanie Wells, the new head of the Indiana Fiscal Policy Institute. “Healthcare, economic development, and education… and workforce development. Those are all very important.”
Wells tells Indy Politics that they are also big asks in the sense of how much they will cost the taxpayers of Indiana. It’s estimated that the state has about $2 billion in surplus tax money in the banks, but Wells predicts that most of that money may already be committed to other things.
That being said, she believes lawmakers will have a tough go at figuring out how to pay for these big topics without breaking the bank in an inflationary environment.
“Revenue growth is going to be pretty flat, but it’s not necessary to cut spending,” she said. “However, inflation will have an impact on the dollars allocated in the budget.”
Lawmakers are also expected to begin discussions on possibly phasing out Indiana’s state income tax. She does not expect any legislation on that to be passed in this particular legislative session.
Wells said even though the state is doing “okay” financially considering the current economic situation in the country, Wells added that Indiana does not have unlimited resources. Figuring out how to use those resources, she says, will be a big challenge for lawmakers.