Holcomb calls lawmakers back into session to consider $1B in refunds

Gov. Eric Holcomb said Wednesday he is calling lawmakers back to the Indiana Statehouse on July 6 to consider his plan to send $1 billion in refunds to Indiana taxpayers.

If lawmakers agree to the governor’s plan, individual taxpayers would receive a tax refund of $225 — on top of the $125 each is receiving through the state’s automatic taxpayer refund program.

Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb

“This is the fastest, fairest and most efficient way to return taxpayers’ hard-earned money during a time of economic strain,” Holcomb said in a statement. “Indiana’s economy is growing and with more than $1 billion of revenue over current projections, Hoosier taxpayers deserve to have their money responsibly returned. I’m happy to be able to take this first step and look forward to signing this plan into law as soon as possible.”

Only the governor can call the Legislature into special session — something the Indiana Supreme Court affirmed earlier this summer. But once lawmakers are at the Statehouse, their work is not limited by time or scope.

That means they could consider other ways to try to help Hoosiers cope with rising prices. Democrats, for example, have advocated suspending the state’s gas tax or the sales tax on gasoline.

Or they could consider issues not tied to the Holcomb’s original request at all. For example, the Republican-led House and Senate could act on abortion legislation in reaction to a U.S. Supreme Court decision expected any day.

Many Republicans called on Holcomb earlier this year to call a special session if the U.S. Supreme Court issues a ruling that strikes down Roe v. Wade or otherwise opens the door for states to ban abortion.

Although lawmakers are compelled to convene on July 6, they could also immediately adjourn without acting on Holcomb’s proposal, although that’s unlikely.

Holcomb first announced his taxpayer refund plan on June 9, on the heels of a state revenue report for May that showed tax receipts were $209 million higher than the state’s forecast. For the first 11 months of the Indiana fiscal year, which ends June 30, tax revenue was $1.075 billion over forecast.

The state’s existing $125 automatic refund was triggered last summer after the state ended the last fiscal year with nearly $4 billion in reserves, which was $1.2 billion more than expected.

Refunds were to begin in May through direct deposits for residents who provided their banking information on their return when they filed their 2021 income taxes. Direct deposits are expected to continue through July.

For those who did not include banking information on their returns, paper checks will be issued beginning in late July and continue through August, with the goal of completing the refund statewide by Sept. 1.

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