INDIANAPOLIS – Hoosiers could get another $225 to help them deal with high gas prices and inflation.
Gov. Eric Holcomb announced a plan Thursday to return $1 billion from the state reserves to Hoosier taxpayers in an effort to help with rising prices.
The payments are possible because of a higher-than-expected revenue performance during the fiscal year, the governor said.
According to Holcomb’s plan, taxpayers would get about $225 apiece and couples who filed jointly would get $450. That’s in addition to the payments being processed as part of the Automatic Taxpayer Refund (ATR).
With the payments combined, individual Hoosiers would get about $350 while couples filing jointly would get about $700.
Holcomb has outlined his plan with legislative leaders and said he’s committed to calling a special session by the end of June to “align the second round of returns with our current ATR.”
If the legislature approves the governor’s plan, the additional money would be distributed just like the Automatic Taxpayer Refund. For those receiving paper checks in August, a single check of $350 would be sent for individuals or $700 for those filing jointly.
Senate President Pro Tem Rodric Bray (R-Martinsville) issued a statement in support of the plan:
We recognize many Hoosiers are facing uncertainty, in large part due to the unprecedented level of inflation our nation is experiencing. While this is a product of policies from Washington, D.C., we want to provide some help where possible.
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.
House Speaker Todd Huston (R-Fishers) expressed support for calls for a special session:
Inflation is having real and negative effects on everyday Hoosiers, whether it’s record gas prices or rising grocery and energy bills. That’s why I fully support the governor’s call for a special session to put more money directly back into taxpayers’ pockets. By issuing another round of automatic taxpayer refunds, we can provide quick and substantial relief while maintaining the state’s prudent reserves and providing budget flexibility moving forward. We’ll work with the governor and our Senate colleagues on scheduling a special session, so we can return to the Statehouse and do what’s right by Hoosiers.
The Indiana Democratic Party also issued a statement:
It’s encouraging to see Governor Holcomb and Indiana Republicans finally realize that there are ways the state government can combat global inflation. That said, it shouldn’t have taken this long to get the Republicans to actually act and produce what looks like another bare-minimum band-aid for Indiana’s long-term problems.
Indiana Democrats had the foresight and called on the state to pause its gas tax back to help Hoosiers make ends meet. This win-win solution only adds to the Democrats’ plan to address rising costs across the state. But unfortunately, the Indiana GOP proves (again) they have no plans for our future – just election-year performance and partisanship.
“225 [dollars] is a good start,” said State Rep. Greg Porter (D-Indianapolis). “I believe it will give some relief for individuals. I’m just kind of disheartened it took so long for it to happen.”
Porter said he supports the governor’s plan, though he would still like to see Republicans consider suspending the state’s 56-cent gas tax. That was proposed by Indiana Democrats last month but rejected by the Republican supermajority.
“Remember, we have a 6.5, almost $7 billion surplus right now,” Porter said. “Those are real dollars.”