INDIANAPOLIS – With the Indiana legislature back in session, Democrats have unveiled their agenda for 2022, which includes proposals of a child tax credit and paid family and medical leave.
“Let’s think about what Indiana could be,” House Minority Leader Phil GiaQuinta (D-Fort Wayne) said in his address to the House chamber. “Let’s put the welfare of Hoosiers first.”
GiaQuinta said he considers the state’s surplus, which is expected to reach $5 billion this year, “unconscionable.” He called on lawmakers to use that funding to tackle several issues, including child care costs, student loan debt and climate change.
He also wants the legislature to consider paid family and medical leave and a child tax credit.
“In the past, we’ve had a lot of tax cuts and tax breaks for businesses,” GiaQuinta said in a one-on-one interview Tuesday. “And the idea is why can’t we do something for those in the middle to lower income?”
Some Republicans, including House Speaker Todd Huston (R-Fishers), have said they want the legislature to consider tax cuts this session.
When asked whether he is open to considering a child tax credit, Huston did not rule it out.
“We’ll be releasing our tax bill tomorrow, and I like what’s in it,” Huston said. “We’ll consider all options. I’m not closing down anything that gives people back their money.”
Leaders on both sides of the aisle say they believe there are some issues both parties can reach compromise on, particularly efforts to reduce health care costs.
“I do think we have some common goals,” said House Majority Leader Matt Lehman (R-Berne). “Working together to lower health care costs, working together to lower energy costs.”
“It’s something that I know both sides have talked about,” GiaQuinta said. “How we get there, we may have some differences of opinion, but I think that’s one issue we can work together on.”
Because Republican lawmakers hold a supermajority in the Indiana legislature, Democrats’ proposals would need bipartisan support to pass.
Gov. Eric Holcomb said Monday he’s against the approval of new spending of the surplus this session since it’s not a budget year. He’s willing to look at ways to use that funding when the budget is rewritten in 2023, he added.