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February 24, 2013

Counties back GOP House budget plan over Pence’s plan

Indiana Association of Counties lobbying for plan that gives local governments road moneyBy Maureen Hayden

(Continued)

INDIANAPOLIS —

“We’ve been telling our legislators for the last several years that there is a continual problem with road funding,” Yoder said.   

The association’s support comes at a time when Pence is engaged in an intra-party fight over the budget with Republican legislative leaders.

He’s unhappy that the House budget bill doesn’t include his 10-percent cut in the state income tax rate. The cut would save the average Hoosier about $100 but cost the state $720 million over the next two years and $500 million every year after that.  

Republican legislative leaders want to spend that money on schools, roads, and services for the needy, but Pence has defended the tax cut, saying it gives new tax relief to Hoosiers.  

The House budget bill also doesn’t contain Pence’s road funding plan that would pump state dollars into transportation infrastructure only after Indiana’s surplus tops 12.5 percent of what it spends in a year. It would divert the extra payments to pension obligations and the automatic taxpayer refunds that are currently triggered by the 12.5 percent surplus. 

Pence’s budget team estimates his plan would add $347 million to road funding over the next two years. But county officials fear it’s a temporary fix at best; both House and Senate legislative leaders have also rejected the idea.

— Maureen Hayden covers the Statehouse for the CNHI newspapers in Indiana. She can be reached at maureen.hayden@indianamediagroup.com

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