Talks continue on gaming, transit, income tax cuts at Indiana Statehouse ahead of looming deadline

Fate of key bills should be clear Thurs. afternoon

INDIANAPOLIS - Indiana lawmakers with one eye on the clock are deep in talks on several key issues, including the size of the income tax cut Hoosier taxpayers can expect to receive.

It'll likely be clear by Thursday afternoon whether several key bills on gaming, transit and schools will make it or not, and the amount of the tax cut will come into focus.

House Speaker Brian Bosma was cautious about commenting on whether Gov. Mike Pence still has a chance to get his 10 percent income tax through.

"This is all under discussion right now," Bosma said. "And, you know, we're trying to come to a positive conclusion on all of it."
One bill that seems to be moving in a positive direction is the one to help the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. 

"I think we have some language that hopefully will be coming out in the IMS issue and going forward," said Rep. Tim Brown, R-Crawfordsville. "I think it's pretty clear that racino money will not be used as a way for motorsports across the state."
But the bill to help the gaming industry is not moving. Three of the four caucuses have agreed to live table games at the racinos and allowing riverboats on land, but House Republicans will not.

"We disagree that it's an expansion of gaming," said Rep. Terri Austin, D-Anderson. "When you look at what's going on with the Hoosier Lottery, that's an expansion of gaming."

The transit bill will apparently allow for only a summer study committee. Sponsors have offered several compromises, but opponents aren't budging.

"No. Nobody's buying it," said Rep. Jerry Torr, R-Carmel. "I even offered to eliminate all rail without further legislative approval. And I can't even get buy-in on that."

Negotiators will make every attempt possible to reach agreement on the budget and the income tax cut by Wednesday afternoon, because legislative rules require the budget to be published and available to the public 24 hours before a final vote.

Bosma wants to adjourn Friday night, even though the legal deadline is Monday.

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