By Maureen Hayden
The Hendricks County Flyer
Fri Mar 15, 2013, 02:40 PM EDT
We Hoosiers like to think of ourselves as special, but when it comes to the current debate in the Indiana Statehouse over the budget, we're a lot like other states: Grappling with some post-recession questions about how to balance spending and taxes.
The struggle unfolding in the Statehouse has to do with the state's $2 billion surplus and two distinctly different views about what to do with it. The stash of cash follows lean years brought on by the 2008 recession, when Indiana - like many other states - saw deep drops in tax revenues and subsequent deep cuts in state spending on education and other public services.
Slowly but steadily, those tax collections have been rising as Indiana and other states gets back on their feet. It's good news, but here's the dilemma that it's led to: Should we restore those lost dollars to schools and other public services or use the surplus to lower taxes and lock in those cuts made under economic duress?
States across the nation, from Connecticut to California, have been wrestling with the same issue.
Republican Gov. Mike Pence is committed in large part to the latter. His number one campaign promise last year was to lower the personal income tax rate in Indiana from 3.4 percent to 3.06 percent.
The sound of a tax cut has Pavlovian appeal: It triggers a reflexive positive response. But the reality isn't that impressive. A typical middle-income Indiana resident would see their state tax obligation drop about $100; the poorest 20 percent of Hoosiers would see a tax cut of $18 or less. The richest 1 percent of Hoosiers might like it, since their taxes would be cut by about $2,200.
Yet a good chunk of those dollars would likely end up not in Hoosier pockets but in the federal treasury. Why? Because one of four Indiana taxpayers claims itemized deductions on their federal tax returns, and can write off the state and local income tax payments they make. By lowering their state tax bill, the Pence tax rate cut would raise their federal tax bill.
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There was a wide array of reactions to Seattle DB Richard Sherman’s post-game “interview” with Erin Andrews following the Seahawks’ NFC title win over San Francisco.
Mine? Laughter, as the shout-down was the most entertaining thing I saw all day.
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Butler is still a long way from saving its 2013-14 men’s basketball season, but if the Bulldogs turn it around fully and reach the NCAA Tournament, it will have started this past Saturday at Hinkle Fieldhouse.
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The Indianapolis Colts’ miraculous 45-44 wild card victory over Kansas City on Saturday ended just after 8 p.m. After leaving Lucas Oil Stadium, it took until around midnight for the pounding in my head to subside.
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An NPR broadcast examines the question of how communities can better prepare for tornadoes like the one that struck Moore, Okla. on Monday. The broadcast features commentary from Michael Fitzgerald, who reported a five-part disaster series for the CNHI News Service.
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Part I: Are We Prepared? | Part II: Disaster Dollars Part III: Lessons Learned | Part IV: Warning Signs Part V: The Big One
Smartphones need kill switches. It's a relatively easy solution to the pricey (and irritating) problem of smartphone theft. But who would have thought that the big carriers would team up with Apple, Google, Microsoft, Nokia, Samsung and lots of other manufacturers to voluntarily begin adding the technology by July 2015? The cooperative spirit! It makes so much sense!
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