Hoosier taxpayers are likely to receive a $200 rebate check from the state, instead of $225, sometime in the next few months.
State lawmakers appear to have reached an agreement on a plan to return a portion of Indiana's record $6.1 billion budget reserve, but decided Thursday to reduce by 11% the value of the payment recommended by Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb to ensure more Hoosiers are eligible to receive it.
"This will still be over $1 billion back to our citizens," said state Rep. Tim Brown, R-Crawfordsville, chairman of the budget-writing House Ways and Committee.
If enacted, Hoosier taxpayers will receive a $200 payment later this year, on top of the $125 automatic taxpayer refund checks already in the process of being distributed as result of excess state revenue from the 2021 budget year.
The proposal provides that another 300,000 to 900,000 adult Hoosiers who didn't file a income tax return last year, and missed out on the $125 payment, would be eligible for the $200 as a future tax credit.
Brown said the tax rebate provisions added to Senate Bill 2 are part of an overall agreement with the Senate that includes depositing $1 billion in a state teacher pension account and spending an additional $103.5 million to support pregnant women, children and families in connection with the pending adoption of a near-total abortion ban in Senate Bill 1.
The revised legislation also eliminates the 7% sales tax on children's diapers, boosts income tax benefits for adoption, requires studies of Indiana's Medicaid rates and contraceptives availability, and establishes a panel to examine doula services for pregnant women.
Items from House Bill 1001, Senate Bill 2 and Senate Bill 3 that didn't make the cut include a 1 cent per gallon reduction in Indiana's record-high gasoline tax, a six-month sales tax holiday on residential utility bills, and a requirement that each Bureau of Motor Vehicles license branch display a poster directing customers to pregnancy resources.
Democratic lawmakers also were unable to persuade the Republican House majority to include in the measure a 5% cost-of-living increase to pension payments for retired state and local government employees, authorization for pharmacists to prescribe and distribute hormonal birth control, and a $300 income tax credit, instead of $100, for teachers purchasing school supplies.
"We had an opportunity to help teachers get supplies to use in their classrooms, to help students get the most out of their education. Instead, House Republicans once again refused to help the very people we trust with the future of our children," said state Rep. Chuck Moseley, D-Portage.
If Senate Bill 2 is approved by the House Friday, the Republican-controlled Senate need only consent to the revisions to send the legislation to Holcomb to be signed into law.