Special session budget talks may not stop with Indiana tax rebate

FILE - Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb speaks with reporters at the Indiana Statehouse in Indianapolis Feb. 23, 2022. Indiana Republicans aren't showing signs of putting the brakes on rising state gasoline taxes even as the state government continues its streak of fast-growing tax collections. Democrats have been calling over the past week for Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb to issue an emergency order suspending the gas tax or for the GOP-dominated Legislature to do so when lawmakers hold a one-day meeting next week. (AP Photo/Tom Davies)

COLUMBUS, Ind. (WIBC) – The upcoming special legislative session is scheduled to deliver you a $225 tax rebate. It may go beyond that.

Governor Holcomb says the tax rebate is the reason he called legislators back in the first place. Since then, another month of budget data indicates Indiana’s surplus is still growing, and Holcomb says delivering the billion-dollar giveback remains his top priority for the three-week session.

But Holcomb says there will be “other ideas that will be swirling” for tapping the budget windfall, including a further buydown of state debt. He says he’s open to those ideas.

Holcomb and Republican legislative leaders have dismissed one suggestion: Democrats’ demand that the state suspend its gas tax. Republicans have said up to a quarter of the tax holiday would benefit drivers passing through Indiana, rather than Hoosiers.

Budget ideas also may blend with the other agenda item for the special session: how far to go in restricting abortion. House Speaker Todd Huston (R-Fishers) has said he expects any abortion bill will be coupled with expanded resources for maternal health and for prenatal and postnatal care. And Representative Tim Wesco (R-Osceola) is proposing a $100 million state adoption fund to pick up the cost of adopting.

The special session begins July 25.