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Suzanne Crouch

Source: WISH-TV / other

INDIANAPOLIS — In recent weeks forecasts that predict what the state will take in in tax revenue revealed a massive shortfall in Medicaid funding in Indiana.

The shortfall was brought on by several different factors that seem to add up to a failure in the system somewhere to account for the spending shortfall for Medicaid. Either way, the news has not deterred Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch (R) in her desire to eliminate the state income tax if elected governor.

Eliminating the tax has been her platform ever since announcing her desire to run for governor.

“We’re going to ‘axe the tax’,” she told IndyPolitics. “My opponents are screaming bloody murder saying that ‘it can’t be done.’ But, quite honestly that money is not theirs, it’s yours. You always spend it more wisely than the government will.”

Still, it begs the question of how the state can afford to eliminate the state income tax when there is a shortfall of nearly a billion dollars in Medicaid funding to deal with. Crouch said the state is prepared for these sorts of happenings. She also said the plan is not to immediately do away with the income tax, but rather to phase it in.

“We do it because we phase it in and we have triggers in place to protect against economic downturn. It’s not something new,” Crouch said. “We’ve had those kinds of triggers in place when we have other initiatives. It’s not going to happen overnight.”

She hinted that the state needs to use its surpluses in cash reserves to help mitigate the Medicaid shortfall.

Regardless, Crouch remains committed to eliminating the state income tax.

‘We have an opportunity to put thousands of dollars into the pockets of Hoosiers every year,” said Crouch. “When we eliminate that income tax not only are we going to keep people in the Hoosier state, but we are going to bring people in.”

This week began Crouch’s final legislative session as the lieutenant governor to Gov. Eric Holcomb (R).