Holcomb proposes $1B refund for Indiana taxpayers

Gov. Eric Holcomb announced a plan on Thursday to call a special legislative session at the end of June and propose that $1 billion in state reserves be returned to Indiana taxpayers.

Each taxpayer would collect about $225 under the $1 billion plan. That would be in addition to $125 that each taxpayer is set to receive this year from the state’s automatic taxpayer refund.

Holcomb’s announcement came directly on the heels of a state revenue report for May, which showed revenue was $209 million higher than the state’s forecast. For the 11 months of the Indiana fiscal year, which ends June 30, revenues are $1.075 billion over forecast.

Holcomb has taken fire in recent weeks from Democrats asking him to temporarily suspend the state’s gas tax to provide fiscal relief for Hoosiers. He replied that he’d rather provide relief for all Hoosiers, not just those who buy gas, and that he wanted to see May’s revenue report before deciding how.

“Hoosiers have real needs right now during this period of high inflation, from the gas pump to buying groceries, and everyone should benefit from the state’s success,” Holcomb said in a media release on Thursday morning.

In a separate release, Senate President Pro Tem Rodric Bray, R-Martinsville, did not indicate whether he supported the proposal, but said he recognized Hoosiers needed relief from inflation.

“Thanks to Indiana’s continued fiscal prudence, we can consider providing some relief to Hoosiers who are trying to adapt to today’s challenges by returning some of their hard-earned money back to them,” Bray said.

Once the Legislature is called into special session, lawmakers are free to pursue any issues they choose with no limit on how long they can stay in session.

Many members of the Republican-dominated body called on Holcomb earlier this year to call a special session if the Supreme Court of the United States makes a ruling that strikes down Roe v. Wade or otherwise opens the door for states to ban abortion. It’s unclear when the high court will announce its decision, although court watchers expect to see a ruling in June or July.

Holcomb has said he was considering the option of calling a special session in that instance, but that he would not make a final decision until an official ruling from the court is released.

The $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 deposit 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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