Trump touts record economy while IN GOP face ‘tight budget’
INDIANAPOLIS – Ahead of a critical revenue forecast, Indiana Republicans are already framing a ‘tight budget’, forcing lawmakers to ‘right-size’ (read cut) the state’s budget. It’s in jarring contrast to the economic picture President Trump is painting, touting ‘the greatest economy in the history of our country’. Statehouse Republicans are transforming a record economy into budget cuts and leaving Indiana teachers criminally underpaid. How? It’s tough to imagine nearly a decade of economic policies putting corporate tax cuts, special interests and the top 1% ahead of working Hoosiers hasn’t played a role.
Initiated in 2011, Statehouse Republicans will have slashed the state’s corporate income tax by nearly 50 percent when fully implemented. At the time, they crowed that the decrease in tax revenue would be bolstered by growth.
“While Indiana lowered business taxes by nearly 50 percent, our neighbors in Illinois increased them. The predictable result – as of 2017 more than 50 companies have relocated operations from Illinois to Indiana, bringing jobs and enhancing our state tax revenue so that we can invest in improving our roads, schools and other priorities.”
Flash-forward to 2019 and it appears Statehouse Republicans will be hard-pressed to even bolster education funding enough to offset inflation, let alone give some of the most underpaid educators in the country a raise. The math will be nearly impossible to square, and Statehouse Republicans could be inconceivably forced to cut relative education funding in a bull economy.
From the Times of Northwest Indiana Holcomb promises Indiana teachers will see ‘significant’ pay hikes, but it may take years
“Already the $7.2 billion Indiana is spending this year on K-12 tuition support will have to grow by $144 million a year in the state’s next two-year budget, or $288 million total, just to keep pace with the 2 percent national inflation rate.
“House Speaker Brian Bosma, R-Indianapolis, said he’s expecting about $350 million in new state revenue in the next budget.
“But he said $286 million of that is needed to replace one-time funds spent over the past two years to cover unexpected costs at the Department of Child Services — potentially forcing spending cuts at other state agencies.
“Some teachers next year also may see their wages shrink, instead of grow, as Holcomb’s legislative agenda calls for eliminating pay-for-performance Teacher Appreciation Grants, and funneling some of that $30 million into a $500 state tax credit for teachers who spend their own money on school supplies.”
Indiana Democratic Party Chairman John Zody doubted Statehouse Republicans would have an easy time explaining why schools might face funding cuts while corporations enjoy another decrease in their tax rate.
“Statehouse Republicans crossed their fingers for years, foolishly dreaming the tax cuts they showered on corporations would magically generate offsetting revenue,” said Zody. “The bill for their recklessness is coming due and it’s going to be paid by hardworking educators and students in the form of funding cuts. An ‘I owe U’ from Republicans for teacher pay raises and expanded preschool isn’t worth the paper it’s written on. This is about priorities and Republicans made theirs perfectly clear: corporate tax cuts ahead of working Hoosiers.”