Indiana state government has money trouble.
It’s because the economy is not performing as expected and it could make it tougher for Mike Pence to sell his legislative agenda. The governor wants to cut corporate taxes and spend more on preschool education.
February numbers released this afternoon show that tax revenues missed the monthly target by $54 million and, for the first time in this fiscal year, sales taxes came in below last year’s level.
The winter weather is getting some of the blame. It has hurt sales tax receipts across the state.
“You know when people aren’t going out shopping it’s going to hurt,” said Senate President Pro Tem David Long, “and a lot of people have been hunkered down in their houses. They’re not going out, they’re not spending.”
But there’s more at work than the weather. State tax revenues have missed the target in 6 of the last 8 months. Last month they fell short by more than $35 million.
Money concerns were already being cited by state Senators who removed Mike Pence’s preschool voucher plan from a bill that now calls for a study committee.
“So the trend is becoming more of a significant trend,” said Sen. Luke Kenley (R-Noblesville) “in terms of the fact that the pattern is holding.”
And Democrats now say that Pence plans to cut the business personal property tax ignore reality.
“You can spin it any way you want to,” said Rep. Greg Porter (D-Indianapolis,) “the issue that is we cannot afford to cut taxes for coporations.”
Governor Pence issued a statement calling the revenue shortfall “not unexpected.”
He blamed it on the weather.