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(INDIANAPOLIS) – The coronavirus pandemic could blow a hole in the economy, and legislators are already thinking about what that means for Indiana.

Next year is a budget session, and House Speaker Todd Huston says legislators need to be prepared for possible belt-tightening. He says the cascade of event cancellations is going to leave a mark on the economy, though he and Senate President Pro Tem Rod Bray say there’s no way to know what the economic outlook will be when legislators return in January to start work on a new two-year budget.

Huston and Bray both say they’re confident in the strength of Indiana’s economy. Huston says the prospect of a recession shows the importance of Republicans’ insistence on maintaining a large cash reserve, which he says could be tapped to cushion a recession’s effects. But both leaders acknowledge plans to raise teacher pay could be a casualty if the economic outlook turns bleak.

The Holcomb administration assured legislators there wasn’t a need for additional authority or money to address the pandemic this year. But Senate Minority Leader Tim Lanane says the outbreak makes a more urgent case for Democrats’ longstanding call for paid medical leave. He says people who contract the virus shouldn’t run the risk of getting hurt in the pocketbook as well.