Legislators Agrees On Tax Rebate

(INDIANAPOLIS) – Legislators appear to have a deal to send you a 200-dollar tax rebate.

The rebate is slimmed down slightly from the 225 dollars Governor Holcomb and House Republicans had proposed. House Ways and Means Chairman Tim Brown says that’s because it’s been expanded to cover people who don’t file tax returns. That encompasses somewhere between 300-thousand and 900-thousand Hoosiers, who would have to file a return next year and claim the rebate as a credit.

If you did file a return this year, you’ll receive the rebate automatically. Taxpayers are already receiving an automatic 125-dollar rebate under the law capping the level of state reserves. If you haven’t gotten that rebate yet, you’ll receive a single check for both.

Senate Republicans had called for a smaller tax relief package, delivered through a freeze on the gas tax and utility sales taxes, while devoting more money to paying down debt. The bill steers a billion dollars to Indiana’s unfunded pension liability, more than double what senators had proposed.

The bill also incorporates the Senate’s cap on gasoline sales taxes, though the last month’s drop in gas prices puts the tax below the threshold where the cap would kick in.

And the bill includes 80-million dollars for a range of prenatal and postnatal services aimed at reducing maternal and infant mortality.

The bill directs the Indiana Department of Health to work on a feasibility study for expanding access to contraception. By a single vote, the House rejected a proposal to allow pharmacists to dispense birth control polls without a prescription. Jeffersonville Representative Rita Fleming (D) says two dozen states have adopted that policy, and have seen an immediate plunge in abortion rates and teen pregnancies.

Governor Holcomb issued a statement praising the package and declaring he’ll sign it as soon as it reaches his desk. That’s expected to happen Friday, when the House plans a final vote, with the Senate expected to follow.

Fleming and Indianapolis Democrat Mitch Gore joined Republicans in giving preliminary approval to the package on Thursday. Indianapolis Democrat Greg Porter criticized the focus on accelerating a planned paydown of the pension debt, arguing Indiana is neglecting immediate spending needs which could be addressed with the state’s bulging reserves.