Analysts expect additional $1.5 billion in state tax revenue
INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The legislature’s top budget writers on Wednesday said new revenue numbers give them a lot more breathing room in the closing days of the session.
A bipartisan consensus report released Wednesday morning concluded the state of Indiana will receive about $1.5 billion more in tax revenue over the next three years than analysts predicted back in December. Corporate income tax revenue accounted for nearly a third of the additional revenue, bringing in more than $440 million more between now and the end of the 2025 budget year.
The new numbers arrived just as lawmakers began final negotiations over the state’s 2024-2025 budget. Rep. Jeff Thompson, R-Lizton, and Sen. Ryan Mishler, R-Mishawaka, who chair the House Ways and Means Committee and the Senate Appropriations Committee, respectively, said the better-than-expected revenue gives them more flexibility.
Mishler said the community behavioral health centers authorized in Senate Bill 1, the legislature’s primary mental health bill, likely will get more money than lawmakers had penciled in. He was less optimistic about the additional public health funding envisioned by Senate Bill 4. So far, both chambers have settled on increasing public health funding by $75 million in Fiscal Year 2024 and by $150 million in FY 2025. Gov. Eric Holcomb in his State of the State address had asked for $120 million and $227 million, respectively.
Senate Bill 4 would make additional funding available to public health agencies that agree to provide a uniform set of services such as health inspections and chronic disease management.
“That’s more than just the funding,” Mishler said. “I think you have a lot of members that just have some issues with the bill itself, so that will be a tougher one, probably, to increase the funding.”
Rep. Greg Porter, D-Indianapolis, the top-ranking Democrat on the House Ways and Means Committee, said he was ecstatic about the revenue report. He said Democrats would focus on trying to get more funding for education, public health, and mental health. Additionally, he would like to restore some of the career and technical education grants that were eliminated in the Senate’s proposed budget.
“I think at this point, we can pivot and really do some good legislation and have a real budget for everyone here in the state of Indiana,” he said.
Lawmakers have until the end of next week to finalize a budget and send it to the governor’s desk. Both chambers have already approved their versions but have not yet worked out the differences between the two.