Size of Indiana income tax cut remains undecided

WTHR file photo of the 2013 Indiana General Assembly

Indiana legislative leaders say the new state budget will include a personal income tax cut, but it's still uncertain whether it will be as large as Governor Mike Pence wants.

Republican House Speaker Brian Bosma said Wednesday that negotiations were continuing with the Senate and the governor's office on the size of the cut.

"There's so many things that we've accomplished this session, and I'll tell you probably the most satisfying is gonna be the tax cut we're gonna be enacting this year. We're looking to see if it's the largest comprehensive tax cut in state history. I'm not able to say that is yet, but we're looking, because we're talking about half billion dollars in tax cuts each year over a billion dollars in tax cuts this biennium that will literally touch every Hoosier, every business, every family and still keep the state in a very sustainable AAA bond rating position," said Bosma.

Bosma said two top priorities this session were restoring public education funding to pre-recession levels and investing in roads and infrastructure. "If we can accomplish all these things together in a single budget and still do the things we've done to help children through the Department of Child Service and so many other Hoosiers, we'll be very satisfied with the results."

Pence has sought a 10 percent cut in the individual income tax rate. The House didn't include an income tax cut when it approved a budget plan in February. The Senate this month backed a 3 percent cut.

The deal would also immediately eliminate the state's inheritance tax.

Bosma and Republican Senate President Pro Tem David Long say negotiators are close to making decisions on the tax cut and other budget matters.

Meantime, Democratic lawmakers say Republicans who control the Indiana Legislature have misplaced priorities as they work toward a final agreement. 

Rep. Greg Porter of Indianapolis is the top Democrat on the House Ways and Means Committee. Porter says the state shouldn't speed up the phase-out of the inheritance tax. Instead, more money should go toward restoring $300 million cut from school funding and $100 million cut from the Department of Child Services by former Gov. Mitch Daniels.

The legislative session is expected to end Friday.

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