Legislative session ends with budget, IMS bill approval

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It was a long night for state lawmakers, with several key issues getting settled on the last day of this year’s legislative session.

Both the House and Senate worked past midnight to approve the state budget early Saturday morning, which now includes the compromise plan to cut income tax 5 percent by 2017, instead of the 10 percent cut Governor Pence had requested.

The 3.4 percent income tax will drop to 3.3 percent beginning on Jan. 1, 2015.  That 3.3 percent tax will later drop to 3.23 percent by Jan. 1, 2017.

“The combination of a 5 percent individual income tax cut, inheritance tax repeal and additional tax relief for businesses is the right tax relief at the right time and will give a much needed boost to working families, small businesses and family farms,” Gov. Pence said in a written statement.

Lawmakers also approved the bill to loan money to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, to help fund improvements at the track. But it was a disappointing night for some lawmakers who wanted live table games for casinos in Shelbyville and Anderson. While the gaming bill passed, the final bill did not include live table games.

A bill that would make it illegal to shoot undercover video at Indiana farms and other businesses got pulled from the House floor, and won’t be put into law this year.

There were also a number of issues relating to Indiana schools. The House and Senate both pased an expansion of the state’s voucher program, while a bill funding grants for school resource officers also passed both chambers. A provision requiring armed officers in every school was taken out of the bill earlier this month.

Lawmakers voted to put the issue of common core on hold, to study the issue further.

The mass transit bill was also sent to a study committe, as expected.