(Education Images/Getty Images)
Indiana finished out the 2019 fiscal year with $300 million more in tax surplus than expected, and budget analysts predict the state will add another $260 million on top of that over the next two years.
As reported by WIBC’s Eric Berman, the surplus comes mainly from sales taxes on Internet purchases. Legislators passed a law in 2019 extending sales taxes from online purchases to “Internet facilitator” sites like Airbnb or Etsy, where the sellers are registered site users rather than the site itself.
Confirmation of the surplus prompted Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb to put forth a proposal to pay cash for five construction projects – including a new barn at the Indiana State Fairgrounds – rather than floating bonds.
Senator Karen Tallian (D-Ogden Dunes) argues with interest rates low, floating bonds is more economical and would free up millions of dollars for other priorities. Democrats say they’ll lobby to spend the latest windfall to boost teacher pay. And Tallian says Senate Democrats will reintroduce some proposals cut from the final budget bill last spring.
Indiana State Rep. Jim Lucas dropped by the Hammer and Nigel show Thursday afternoon to offer his suggestion for the surplus: GIVE IT BACK TO THE TAXPAYERS.
“Awe, gee whiz, Wally! That sounds like a swell idea!” – Beaver Cleaver, Fictional Sitcom Character
“I believe in having a surplus, but there comes a point in time where the people have been taxed enough,” Lucas told WIBC’s Jason Hammer and Rob Kendall. “It’s really easy to spend that surplus because you can come up with a thousand different reasons, but as one of the Founding Fathers, Daniel Webster, used to say: ‘The Constitution was made to protect the people against the dangers of good intentions.’”
Lucas acknowledged that the state of Indiana has a solid track record of fiscal responsibility and responsible spending, but reiterated that he’d like to see lawmakers return the money to taxpayers.
“300 million out of a budget of $17-18 billion dollars is a lot of money [and] it would be nice to see it go back to the people,” said Lucas.
Rep. Lucas also weighed in on State Sen. Greg Taylor’s controversial legislation that would raise the legal age to buy a long gun from 18 to 21 and make it illegal to possess, buy, or sell a gun that is able to hold more than ten rounds of ammunition. Plus, what will it take to legalize recreational marijuana in the state of Indiana?
Click the link below to hear Hammer and Kendall’s full interview with State Rep. Jim Lucas.
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