Our goal was to ensure that we developed the most fiscally responsible budget and I believe the end result proves our continued dedication to protecting the Hoosier taxpayer.
In my opinion, one of the most important aspects of our budget is the emphasis on creating healthy reserves. At the end of fiscal year (FY) 2014, Indiana will have a combined revenue balance of $1.9 billion. By the end of the following year, we will have $2.1 billion in rainy day funds. This is equivalent to 13.8 percent of our total budget. Not only do reserves create a safety net for the future but they protect Hoosier taxpayers from possible tax increases in the future.
Currently, Indiana has an inheritance tax, or “death tax,” in place which was scheduled to be phased out by 2022. This is a tax calculated according to the value of the property and is levied on property received by inheritance or legal succession. Under the House budget, the inheritance tax would be eliminated four years earlier, in 2018. By doing so, we will save taxpayers nearly $300 million and make certain that more farms and small businesses remain in the hands of Hoosiers.
Many Hoosiers are already seeing relief this year in the form of a tax credit on their state income tax returns. In 2011, Indiana passed their first ever taxpayer refund. About $360 million was given back to taxpayers and another $360 million was given to support pensions. We have a proven track record of fiscal integrity, responsibility and conservatism when spending Hoosier tax dollars. I am confident that the final House budget will be in the best interest of our state, now and for the future.
There is no doubt that tax cuts have been an important part of what makes Indiana unique. We have taken care of our financial obligations, given back to our taxpayers and still maintained a triple-A credit rating from all 3 agencies. Speaker Bosma has made it very clear that there will be a tax cut in the final version of the budget. It would be ill-advised however to include any specific tax cut before we know what the final revenue forecast will look like. That information will be given to us next month and will allow us the opportunity to add in a fiscally sound, responsible tax cut to provide relief to our hardworking Hoosiers.
Your feedback is crucial to the successful completion of my job and I truly value your opinions. Please feel free to contact me with any views or concerns you have about the state budget. I can be reached by phone at 317-232-9509 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. I look forward to continuing to serve the people of Indiana.