Some balk at Gov.-elect Mike Pence's promised income tax cuts expected in budget proposal
4:02 PM, Jan 10, 2013
Gov.-elect Mike Pence wants to cut taxes, but schools and other state services that have had their funding slashed over the past several years want that money back.
Pence said he'll introduce his proposed budget next week. He wouldn't say what will be in his first budget, but he has promised to cut the state income tax by 10 percent.
That cut would have to compete with increased funding for education.
In the past several years, K-through-12 schools lost $300 million in funding, and the state's universities took a hit as well.
They want that money back now that the state is running a big surplus.
Pence wouldn't address if both of the demands could be worked into the same budget.
"We've been working tirelessly over the last two months to build an administration, but also to build a budget that we believe will advance the goals on which we ran,” said Pence. “And so stay tuned."
State lawmakers have been skeptical about Pence's tax cut proposal at a time when the national economy is still shaky.
"You know, I think we're going to have to make choices,” said Sen. Luke Kenley, R-Noblesville, chairman of the Appropriations Committee. “And all these things are going to be in the mix. And I couldn't possibly predict at this point who are the winners and who are the losers."
Budget-makers said Pence's plan is on their list, but they won't say where.
"Governor-elect Pence will present his case, we'll look, present his numbers,” said Rep. Tim Brown, R-Crawfordsville, chairman of the Ways and Means Committee. “And we'll take it under advisement and go forward. It is in the priority list. I don't know where it falls right now."
Even though Pence will introduce his budget next week, the answers to these questions probably won't be resolved until late April, when the legislature is ready to adjourn and lawmakers have a better handle on how tax revenues are coming in.