House Majority Leader David Reed (R-Indiana) Thursday briefed the press on the status of budget negotiations saying it’s no secret House Republicans are not supportive of the Senate-passed revenue package and the natural gas severance tax in particular.
He noted some House Democrats also have concerns about the Gross Receipts Tax on natural gas, electric and telephones.
Reed said the Gross Receipts Tax adds more to everyone’s bill, but that revenue would be easily gobbled up with alternatives like liquor privatization, gaming expansion and video gaming terminals.
He said the Senate knows the House has been opposed to GRTs for some time and added the Senate has not been deferential to the House on liquor privatization and issues like video gaming terminals.
He did say he felt there was a lot of agreement on expanded gaming, except for video gaming terminals.
Reed said while he hopes to have a revenue package done before the end of August, there isn’t a lot of urgency to resolve the issues because some $30 billion in revenue will come into the state, the school districts are getting their money and we have some time to deal with this. “We want to get it done right.”
On the issue of looking at transferring monies from special funds, Reed questioned how can we ask people to pay extra taxes when there is revenue already sitting in some of these accounts that hasn’t been used for years?
Reed said they are going through all the accounts again to look for possible transfers as part of developing their response.
Reed said House Republican Appropriations Committee members are meeting and looking at how to close the revenue gap and expect to come back to the table with a counter to the Senate revenue package.
The package, Reed said, will be a mix of old revenue ideas and some new ones.
For example, Reed said they are looking hard at the issue of whether the state needs to borrow such a large amount of money-- $1.3 billion-- as the Senate has in its package.
On the severance tax, Reed said his members do not see the tax as the “end all and be all.” Again, he noted, many of his members would be reluctant to close the budget gap with a severance tax, without doing expanded gaming and liquor privatization first.(Remarks taken from a PLS Reporter Periscope App webcast.)
House Leader Signals Budget Impasse Likely To Linger