INDIANAPOLIS – Gov. Eric Holcomb says he’s in talks with legislative leaders about offering Hoosiers “inflation relief.”
Earlier this week, Holcomb said he expects to present a plan to lawmakers in early June after he reviews the state’s May revenue report.
But, Holcomb added, that plan won’t include suspending Indiana’s 56-cent gas tax – a proposal pushed by Statehouse Democrats.
“I also don’t want to give relief to people who are passing through,” Holcomb said Tuesday. “I want to make sure any relief goes to Hoosiers themselves that are feeling the pain. And there some direct ways we can do that.”
Republican legislative leaders echoed those concerns this week but are staying mum on what their relief plan could look like.
“If we were to consider gas tax options, we could consider something along the lines of what we did with the automatic taxpayer refund,” House Speaker Todd Huston (R-Fishers) said Tuesday. “I just want to make sure that what we do impacts all Hoosiers, including those who don’t drive a lot.”
Huston added he’s open to a special legislative session, which would allow lawmakers to take action immediately instead of waiting until 2023.
Democrats – disappointed in the Republicans’ stance on the gas tax – point out Indiana’s surplus could surpass $6 billion this year.
“That’s a balanced budget and we’re still not going to give them relief at the pump? It’s deplorable,” said Senate Minority Leader Greg Taylor (D-Indianapolis).
Economists say it’s unclear what the impact would be if the gas tax were suspended, pointing out businesses could still raise their prices.
As for the economy overall, experts say inflation rates are starting to slow down but will likely remain higher than normal into next year.
“Even though our economy is functioning pretty normally post COVID, a lot of our trading partners like China are still dealing with effects,” said Kyle Anderson of the IU Kelley School of Business. “And that’s affecting a lot of our higher prices.”