Members of the Indiana General Assembly will gather today at the Statehouse to begin the budget-writing long session, which is expected to end by April 30.
The 50-member Senate will gather today to kick things off while the 100-member House of Representatives will convene Wednesday. The schedule is light this week as lawmakers file bills and organize committee meetings.
Gov.-elect Eric Holcomb is expected to unveil his budget priorities this week, possibly Thursday. Holcomb's inauguration is scheduled for Jan. 9 at the Indiana State Fairgrounds.
Through Tuesday morning the only bills filed were in the Senate where about 105 pieces of legislation were in the hopper and only two carried fiscal policy implications.
Sen. Ron Grooms, R-Jeffersonville, submitted Senate Bill 53, which would create a sales tax holiday Aug. 4-6 this year on school clothes and supplies. The benefit was capped at $35 for clothes and $20 for school supplies--or $3.85 in sales tax savings for Hoosiers who bought these items. It would cost the state an estimated $5 million in sales tax revenue, according to the Legislative Services Agency, if taxes are collected from online sales, or $9 million if they are not collected.
Sen. Liz Brown, R-Fort Wayne, has introduced SB 85, which would allow redevelopment commissions outside Marion County to redirect a portion of property taxes collected in tax increment financing districts to either school transportation systems or public transit corporations. It would require a joint public hearing of the TIF's governing body, the redevelopment commission and the transportation agency's governing board and resolutions approving the redistribution before changes could occur.
The budget will begin in the House Ways and Means Committee, where testimony is likely to begin next week. It's likely the House will vote on its version of the budget by the last week of February or the first week of March, and then it will be considered by the Senate. If the typical schedule holds, reconciliation of the two budgets will begin in mid-April.