12/18 Torchbearer Weekly Policy Update
Hope you had a nice weekend. We will be taking next two weeks off as our offices will be closed for the holidays. Of course, if there is breaking news - we will let you know. Thank you letting us be your trusted source for local, state, and federal policy updates.
- State Tax Collection Slump Continues
- Last Minute Tax Push
- Chamber: Indiana Not Improving As Quickly As Other States
- State Awarded Federal Funding To Improve Rail Service To Chicago, Expand to Louisville
- Republican Gubernatorial Candidates Wary Of ‘Axing’ State Income Tax
- Inflation Drops To 3.1 Percent As Fed Kicks Off Final Meeting Of 2023
- Indiana Senate Releases Standing Committee Assignments
- Share the Torchbearer Newsletter with Your Network!
- Important Dates
Let’s dive in.
State Tax Collection Slump Continues
Breaking: Indiana tax collections in November were $45.8 million below projections, marking the second consecutive month of falling short this fiscal year.
Why it matters: The state's revenue forecast predicted higher revenues, but collections have been consistently below expectations, leading to a smaller budget gap in November compared to October.
By the numbers: Sales tax revenues were down nearly $41 million compared to the monthly estimate, while corporate tax collections were $21 million less than expected.
The big picture: Indiana's tax collections are being impacted by factors such as late payments and changes in use tax revenue allocation.
Yes, but: December's total revenue, which includes an important quarterly payment, will provide a clearer picture of the state's financial situation.
What's next: Indiana will continue to monitor its tax collections and adjust its budget accordingly. (Indiana Capital Chronicle)
Last Minute Tax Push
Members of the U.S. House and Senate are engaged in advanced, last-minute negotiations to reach a tax deal in December or January that includes key priorities for both parties, Axios' Hans Nichols and Juliegrace Brufke report.
Why it matters: Heading into the 2024 election, Democrats want to resurrect a version of the child tax credit, which expired last year, to lower childhood poverty and give their vulnerable members a tangible policy win.
- Republicans are eager to prove to the business community that the House GOP majority can deliver for them by reinstating the full deductibility of research and development investments that expired at the end of 2022.
- Any compromise between the key tax writing committees would have to be prioritized by House and Senate leaders. At an estimated $100 billion, it would also be expensive.
The intrigue: The twin provisions have supporters in both parties, with conservative groups making a pro-family argument for the CTC last month and many Democrats insisting they want to help the business community.
Driving the news: Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and House Ways and Means Chairman Jason Smith (R-Mo.) are working on a package that can clear the House either in December or January.
- "Talks are further along than most people realize," said a senior GOP lawmaker. "All parties are aware that a December timeline is difficult, but that there is a window early next year." (Axios)
Chamber: Indiana Not Improving As Quickly As Other States
A new report from the Indiana Chamber of Commerce says Indiana is making good progress in improving its economic goals, but that progress isn’t coming fast enough to compete with other states.
Why it matters: Indiana needs to keep the pedal down and keep the pressure on in order to move the state forward.
By the numbers: Indiana ranks in the top 10 in only seven of the 49 metrics, including third for having 11% of its labor force working in a “knowledge- and technology-intensive industry” and fourth for minority entrepreneurship.
The big picture: The report card serves as a baseline for the goals outlined in the Indiana Prosperity 2035 vision plan, highlighting areas where Indiana is improving and falling behind.
Yes, but: Indiana has 13 rankings of 40th or worst in the state, including 49th for health care premium costs and 47th for actual health care expenditures.
What's next: Future report cards will be used to measure the progress the state is making to achieve its goals. (Inside Indiana Business)
State Awarded Federal Funding To Improve Rail Service To Chicago, Expand to Louisville
The U.S. Department of Transportation is investing more than $8 billion into improvements and expansions of passenger rail service across the country.
Why it matters: This funding will support the development of daily service and improvements to existing routes, providing Americans with alternatives to congested roads or airports.
By the numbers: The funding includes up to $500,000 for Amtrak to develop a new plan for daily service on the Amtrak Cardinal line, as well as funding for the development of a proposed corridor between Indianapolis and Louisville.
The big picture: The investment aims to enhance passenger rail service and travel time, offering more convenient transportation options.
What's next: The funding will be used to provide cost estimates and scheduling for daily services on the Amtrak Cardinal line and the proposed Indianapolis-Louisville corridor. (WFYI)
Republican Gubernatorial Candidates Wary Of ‘Axing’ State Income Tax
The five leading Republican candidates for governor of Indiana participated in a wide-ranging panel discussion Wednesday, finding agreement on topics such as public safety and education but offering differing approaches to economic development and tax policy.
Why it matters: The discussion centered around a polarizing proposal to eliminate the personal income tax, with Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch supporting it as a top policy proposal while the other candidates took a more cautious approach.
The big picture: The candidates discussed the potential impact of eliminating the personal income tax and offered alternative approaches to tax policy.
Yes, but: U.S. Sen. Mike Braun expressed concerns about the proposal, stating that it would significantly impact the state's revenue.
What's next: The candidates will continue to campaign and share their policy proposals with voters. (IBJ)
Inflation Drops To 3.1 Percent As Fed Kicks Off Final Meeting Of 2023
Inflation came down in 2023 much faster than anyone expected, sealing expectations that the Federal Reserve won't raise interest rates this week and shrinking the chances that the economy is headed for a recession.
Why it matters: The decrease in inflation brings stability and predictability to household budgets and the economy at large.
By the numbers: Prices rose 3.1 percent in November over the year before, a vast improvement since the consumer price index peaked at 9.1 percent in June 2022.
The big picture: The economy has stayed resilient through high rates, prompting forecasters to slash expectations for a recession.
Yes, but: Officials are still cautious and waiting for more evidence of sustained momentum.
What they're saying: Treasury Secretary Janet L. Yellen believes the U.S. is on the path to a soft landing.
What's next: The markets are eagerly awaiting hints from the Federal Reserve Chair's news conference on Wednesday afternoon. (Washington Post)
Indiana Senate Releases Standing Committee Assignments
Share the Torchbearer Newsletter with Your Network!
Thursday, January 4th - Unlimited Bill Filing Ends in the Senate
Friday, January 5th - Two Per Day Bill Filing Begins in the Senate
Monday, January 8th - First Day of the 2024 Legislative Session
Tuesday, January 9th - Senate Bill Filing Deadline
Tuesday, January 9th - State of the State @ 7pm
Wednesday, January 10th - State of the Judiciary @ 2pm
Thursday, January 11th - House Bill Filing Deadline
Tuesday, January 16th - Senate Deadline to Assign Bills to Committee
Tuesday, January 16th - Statements of Economic Interest Due in House and Senate
Tuesday, January 30th - House Committee Report Deadline
Thursday, February 1st - House 2nd Reading Deadline
Thursday, February 1st - Senate Committee Report Deadline
Monday, February 5th - House 3rd Reading Deadline
Monday, February 5th - Senate 2nd Reading Deadline
Tuesday, February 6th - Senate 3rd Reading Deadline
Tuesday, February 27th - House Committee Report Deadline
Thursday, February 29th - House 2nd Reading Deadline
Thursday, February 29th - Senate Committee Report Deadline
Monday, March 4th - House 3rd Reading Deadline
Monday, March 4th - Senate 2nd Reading Deadline
Tuesday, March 5th - Senate 3rd Reading Deadline
Thursday, March 14 - Last Day to Adjourn Sine Die