INDIANAPOLIS - Gov. Mike Pence said Thursday that an income tax cut in the Indiana Senate's proposed budget is a start but he'll still push for the $500 million cut he has proposed.
Senate Republicans put forward a $30 billion budget Thursday that cuts the state's personal income tax by a total of $150 million annually and funds an expansion of major highways.
Pence wanted lawmakers to slash the income tax from 3.4 percent to 3.06 percent, but Senate Republicans opted to reduce it to 3.3 percent.
Senate Republicans said that combined with eliminating the inheritance tax and several business tax cuts, they are reducing the government's take by about $500 million.
"There's relief for all Hoosier taxpayers, which amounts to approximately $500 million when all of it kicks in," said Sen. David Long, R-President Pro Tempore. "We make significant investments in education and in our infrastructure, which we also think is important, particularly as the economy has improved somewhat."
Senate Republicans propose putting $200 million a year in a new transportation fund to pay for additional lanes on Interstate 70 and Interstate 65 crossing the state.
The plan also would pay for building a new bypass around most of Indianapolis.
Republicans have also proposed eliminating the inheritance tax and cutting the financial institutions tax by 2 percentage points.
The Senate Appropriations Committee advanced the budget on a 9-4 party line vote Thursday. The full Senate will vote on the budget next week.
"I believe that we are getting on the same page, but let me be clear, there are still details and differences about levels of spending and priorities," Pence said. "And as we go through this process, we'll continue to welcome constructive discussion."
Pence hasn't specified if there's a minimum income tax cut that he'll except, and Senate Republicans haven't said if they'll concede any ground.
"Right now I think what we've done is really good, and I'm proud of it," said Sen. Luke Kenley, R-Noblesville. "But I'm willing to sit down and listen to the governor's issues."
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