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Monday, September 22, 2014

Ind. Gov't. - "For taxes and services, a question of who pays"

Tom LoBianco of the AP has a story today, here in the Michigan City News-Dispatch, on the distribution of the tax burden and changes in the tax structure. But the story concludes with this:

Pence has continued a practice of cutting upward of 3 percent from most state agencies in order to maintain cash reserves of $2 billion.

But that combination of stagnating incomes and tight-fisted spending has spurred problems for Pence and the state.

The state agreed last week to pay $15 million to settle a lawsuit against the Department of Child Services from adoptive parents who said the state skipped out on payments promised them dating from 2009. Meanwhile, the Bureau of Motor Vehicles announced it had overcharged drivers $29 million in fees and would be issuing refunds.

The governor's staff also worked quickly last week to allay concerns from advocates for victims of domestic violence that they would be facing budget cuts again this year, despite having secured an additional $1 million in the state budget for their services.

Democratic Schools Superintendent Glenda Ritz, meanwhile, has asked for $109 million in the upcoming budget to end the state's practice of charging public school families for textbooks.

Last week's tax panel met just one day after a national report from the credit-rating agency Standard & Poor's was issued showing that the widening income gap in Indiana and nationwide has cut into the state's ability to collect taxes to pay for services. The report found that as more money was concentrated among the wealthiest people, less of it was being taxed, thereby putting Indiana and other states in a pinch as they look for ways to continue operating.

It might not always be explicitly stated at the Statehouse during the upcoming tax and budget battles, but at the center of it will be the question of who's paying for what the government is providing.

[More] See also this story by Maureen Hayden in the Goshen News, about "last week’s nearly daylong first meeting of the legislature’s 'blue ribbon' panel assigned to study business taxes."

Posted by Marcia Oddi on September 22, 2014 11:09 AM
Posted to Indiana Government