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Revenue Forecast Shaves $97M From Next State Budget

The state's updated revenue forecast predicts about $33 million less in tax collections over the next two years.

INDIANAPOLIS -- Indiana's spending plan for the next two years will have to be dialed back slightly.

The state's updated revenue forecast predicts about $33 million less in tax collections over the next two years, and an extra $64 million in money which has to be spent on Medicaid. The combination slices away about 10% of the money the state thought it would have for increased spending in the new two-year budget.

Legislators had been expecting a weaker forecast from one issued four months ago -- the Senate budget tucked away an extra $300 million in reserves as a hedge against both a shortfall and a recession. Appropriations Chairman Ryan Mishler says that could be used to avoid some potential cuts.

House Ways and Means Co-Chairman Todd Huston says he and Mishler will protect spending priorities as best they can. He notes Republicans and Democrats in both chambers, as well as the Holcomb administration, have placed school funding and the Department of Child Services at the top of their list. Mishler says school funding is always the first question other legislators ask him as they assess the budget's impact on their districts.

The House budget increased school funding by about 4%. The Senate plan boosted that to 5%, but paid for it by canceling an annual bonus check retired teachers have received for the last 11 years.

Legislators hope to have an agreement in time to approve it and adjourn for the year next week. They're required to end the session by April 29.

 (Photo by Ingram Publishing/Thinkstock.)

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