Indiana budget forecast may require more belt-tightening

INDIANAPOLIS - Indiana's budget picture is looking a little gloomier as the growth of tax collections slows in the coming years.

Tax collections are expected to come in about $298 million less than planned for over the next two years. The State Budget Committee received its December budget forecast Friday.

The forecast accounts for an expected drop in sales tax collections. Republican Gov. Mike Pence recently announced he would curb state spending and sell the state plane in response to a previously announced downturn.

The new budget forecast comes as Pence asks lawmakers to approve a local business tax cut and new spending on education priorities. Lawmakers return for their 2014 session in about two weeks, but won't work on the next state budget until 2015.

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