Goshen News, Goshen, IN

Local News

January 7, 2013

Indiana Legislature enters budget session with cash surplus

INDIANAPOLIS — The Indiana General Assembly starts its 2013 session today in some unfamiliar but welcome territory: Flush with more than $1 billion in new revenue to spend — plus $2 billion in reserves — while crafting the state’s two-year budget plan.

It’s an envious place to be, following a series of recession-era budget cycles that forced the Legislature and outgoing Gov. Mitch Daniels to make some painful cuts in spending on education and other public services.

But don’t expect a spending spree.

While there are already plenty of ideas for how the extra money should be spent — including a call for a 7.5 percent increase for the state’s public universities and a cry from K-12 schools for more dollars — the budget gatekeepers are urging caution.

Republican House Speaker Brian Bosma, of Indianapolis, has been warning his fellow lawmakers that a sputtering economy means the “fiscal fog is thick” and a key budget gatekeeper, Senate appropriations chairman Luke Kenley, has vowed to maintain his reputation as a fiscal conservative.

“Lawmakers have worked hard in recent years to put our fiscal house in order, and we must continue down that path in 2013…” said Kenley, a Noblesville Republican. “We want to continue to stimulate job growth while, at the same time, guarding against future economic instability.”

Meanwhile, the new House Ways and Means chairman, Republican state Rep. Tim Brown of Crawfordsville, has said more money in the state coffers likely means a boost in funding for some programs that suffered past cuts. But without giving much detail, he’s also said they need to be “strategic restorations of what we’ve had to cut in the past.”

The most recent fiscal news is rosier than it’s been in more than five years. The state’s revenue forecast, released in December, predicts state government will receive more than $27.9 billion in taxes and other revenue sources over the next two years. That’s almost $1.3 billion more than the state took in during the past two years.

Much of that increased revenue is coming from state’s sales and income taxes. There has been a steady decline in gaming revenues, though. The November 2012 monthly revenue report showed Indiana casinos saw eight straight months declining revenue. It’s a trend not likely to be reversed as more casinos in the neighboring states of Illinois, Michigan and Ohio come on line.

The drop in gaming dollars may prompt Indiana lawmakers to reconsider some of the tight rules they’ve imposed on the state’s casino operations. Republican state Rep. Ed Clere of New Albany has called for his fellow legislators to re-examine the number of gambling licenses it allows and the locations where gambling is allowed.

The Legislature has been averse in the past to opening the state up to more gaming. But at a legislative preview conference late last year, the powerful state Senate president David Long, a Fort Wayne Republican, said the Legislature needs to do something to reverse the drop in gambling revenues by making Indiana’s casinos more competitive.

One of the budget fights unfolding involves a campaign pledge made by Republican Gov.-elect Mike Pence. His call for a 10 percent cut in personal income tax has met with resistance from legislative leaders of his own party.

If passed, it would mean about $500 million drop in revenues for the state. And it would come on the heels of two significant revenue cuts made last year by the Legislature: a reduction in the corporate income tax rate and a 10-year phase-out of Indiana’s inheritance tax.

Another big budget issue involves the state’s cost of implementing the federal Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. There are some significant unknowns, including how much money the state will be obligated to pay as more Hoosiers are expected to be covered under Medicaid, a joint state and federal program that provides health care for the poor and disabled. The state spent more than $1.4 billion on Medicaid in fiscal year 2012. That amount is expected to rise to $2 billion by 2015.

Maureen Hayden can be reached at maureen.hayden@indianamediagroup.com

1
Text Only
Local News
  • Harness Racing Crowd Harness racing a fan favorite at 4-H Fair GOSHEN — There is no question about the popularity of the three-day harness racing program at the Elkhart County 4-H Fair.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • OBT GN0723 Cook obit photo R. Louise Cook R. Louise Cook Dec. 23, 1920-July 17, 2014 ELKHART — R. Louise Cook, 93, a lifetime resident of Elkhart, died at 5 a.m. Thursday at Miller’s Merry Manor, Wakarusa. She was born Dec. 23, 1920 in Elkhart County, three miles north of Wakarusa, to Irvin

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • GN140723 fair senior day 02 4-H FAIR: Senior citizens enjoy day despite temps GOSHEN — It was a warm day Tuesday, but that didn’t stop hundreds of senior citizens from stopping by for a snack and a walk through the Elkhart County 4-H Fair.

    July 22, 2014 2 Photos

  • GN140723 fair shuffle board 02 4-H Fair: Shuffleboard tourney a source of fun GOSHEN — A little friendly banter could be heard among the shuffleboard players as they competed at the Elkhart County 4-H Fairgrounds Tuesday afternoon.

    July 22, 2014 2 Photos

  • GN140723 CR34-Ind. 13 Crash 1 LaGrange man airlifted from scene of crash A motorcyclist was seriously injured in a crash at Ind. 13 and C.R. 34 at 1:48 p.m. Tuesday. Terry Fry, 44, LaGrange, was airlifted by MedFlight from the scene. Elkhart County police said he was taken to South Bend Memorial Hospital with fractures to

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Charlotte.jpg SLIDESHOW: Pets of the Week Cats and dogs at the Humane Society of Elkhart County looking for loving, permanent homes. This month the HSEC has a Hot Dogs and Cool Cats special. Adopt in July and receive 25 percent off your adoption fee for dogs and cats under 5 years old or 50 percent off those 5-years-old or better.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • GN140723 Sanders fair faces FAIR FACES: Austin Sanders enjoys success, versatility as 10-year 4-Her

    It’s tough to say in which Elkhart County 4-H Fair livestock barn you’re most likely to find 10-year 4-H member Austin Sanders.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Goshen City Hall GOSHEN BOARD OF WORKS: Gravel lot approved for Forest River

    GOSHEN — The employee parking areas for a new manufacturing facility within the Century Drive Industrial Park on Goshen’s south side will be allowed to remain unpaved, though that doesn’t mean the city has to like it.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • GN140722 fair food drive 03 Fair's food drive falls short of world record, but is still a success

    For a 24-hour period, the Elkhart County 4-H Fair “All IN” food drive committee attempted a “Guinness Book of World Records” for the largest single-day food drive. Their goal: 560,000 pounds of food collected from 1 p.m. Sunday to 1 p.m. Monday.

    July 21, 2014 5 Photos

  • GN140722 fair special needs awareness 02 Many enjoy Disabilities Awareness Day at the fair

    Barry Malone stepped off the Orient Express roller coaster ride, grinning. “That I was fun. I liked that,” Malone said with a laugh. “That was a good ride, too.” Malone attended the Elkhart County 4-H Fair Monday and participated in the Disabilities Awareness Day activities and events at Heritage Park, just inside the main gate.

    July 21, 2014 4 Photos

Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Poll

Last weekend (July 12) the Goshen Parks Department held its Kid’s Try-athlon to promote childhood fitness and this week (July 18) the new bicycle trail is open to the fairgrounds in Goshen, offering residents a healthy way to get to the annual agriculture exposition. Have you joined the local fitness movement?

Yes, I work at eating healthy and exercising
No, I am happy with my fitness level
Changing my diet and exercise frequency is a work in progress
     View Results
AP Video
Judge Ponders Overturning Colo. Gay Marriage Ban Airlines Halt Travel to Israel Amid Violence NYPD Chief Calls for 'use of Force' Retraining VA Nominee McDonald Goes Before Congress Bush: Don't Worry, Sugarland Isn't Breaking Up US Official: Most Migrant Children to Be Removed Police Probing Brooklyn Bridge Flag Switch CDC Head Concerned About a Post-antibiotic Era Raw: First Lady Says `Drink Up' More Water Courts Conflicted Over Healthcare Law Holder Urges Bipartisanship on Immigration Raw: Truck, Train Crash Leads to Fireball US Airlines Cancel Israel Flights Obama Signs Workforce Training Law Crash Victims' Remains Reach Ukraine-held City Diplomatic Push Intensifies to End War in Gaza Cat Fans Lap Up Feline Film Festival Michigan Plant's Goal: Flower and Die Veteran Creates Job During High Unemployment