Home Breaking News Taxpayer Refund Bill Passes In The House, Moves To The Senate

Taxpayer Refund Bill Passes In The House, Moves To The Senate


Taxpayer Refund Bill Passes In The House, Moves To The Senate

Rep. Ed DeLaney, R-Indianapolis, asks the author of House Bill 1001, Rep. Sharon Negele, R-Attica, questions about the bill. HB 1001 passed 93-2 in the House and now advances to the Senate.

INDIANAPOLIS—“How do I loathe thee? It comes from a poem, I think. Let me count the ways,” Rep. Ed DeLaney, D-Indianapolis, said on Friday during the third reading of House Bill 1001.

The poem in question was “How Do I Love Thee?” by Elizabeth Barrett Browning, and the actual line is, “How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.”

Unfortunately, we’ll never know if Browning approves of DeLaney parodying the sonnet to point out he has many disagreements with the bill because she died 161 years ago.

Bill Summary

For the third time in a week, the Indiana House discussed HB 1001—after passing in the Ways and Means Committee on Tuesday and having amendments added in the full House on Thursday.

On Friday, during the all-important third reading, the bill was further debated by the House and ultimately passed and will now advance to the Senate. HB 1001 would put $225 into the pockets of taxpayers and increase funding for mother and child health programs.

The bill’s primary component—the taxpayer refund—was the original inspiration behind the special session but has been overshadowed by the abortion bill, Senate Bill 1.

The topic has crept into the House discussion, generally raised by Democrats using the looming abortion ban as a reason their various amendments should be added.

On Tuesday, one Democratic amendment, brought by Rep. Chris Campbell, D-West Lafayette, increased the time women can receive postpartum care under Medicaid to one year and, on Thursday, Rep. Cherrish Pryor, D-Indianapolis, made sure the bill would start a doula reimbursement advisory board.

Republicans had an easier time getting their amendments adopted, surpassing the Democrats’ two.

The bill would now help women under Medicaid consolidate their medical visits, allow grant money that would have gone to baby boxes to go to promoting them, and force license branches to post posters reading, “Do you have questions about adoption, foster care or pregnancy? Please visit www.IN.gov.”

Democrats Criticize But Vote In Favor

Following his allusion to the poem, DeLaney summed up most of the issues Democrats have with the bill.

He said facets like the Nurse-Family Partnership funding should have already happened, and it doesn’t do enough. DeLaney also went through the math of the dependent child exemption change, saying the $100 increase isn’t a big difference.

“Let’s assume you’re a taxpayer,” DeLaney said. “And right now you’re getting a $1,500 deduction and we increase it to $1,600. The tax rate is 3.23%. Three-point-two-three percent on $100 is $3.23.”

The author of the bill, Rep. Sharon Negele, R-Attica, pointed out it’s doubled from $1,600 to $3,200 for the first year, which would be $48.

And Delaney ended his discussion of House Bill 1001 with, “Let’s vote for this bill!” and a sarcastic fist punch, drawing laughter from the crowd (his colleagues).

While every Democrat voted in favor, multiple representatives spoke about the shortcomings they saw and missed opportunities in the form of amendments.

“This body refused to remove sales tax from breastfeeding supplies and equipment, which was proposed by Rep. Bauer,” said Rep. Matt Pierce, D-Bloomington. “This body did not want to adopt Rep. Porter’s idea of not taxing on the sales tax everyday routine products that families have to buy for newborns and for kids, toddlers as they’re growing.”

“Rep. Hamilton—she wanted to have us put some money into some after-school programs,” Pierce continued. “Rep. Porter tried to help with a major tax credit for parents with a newborn because we know there are a lot of new expenses when you have to kind of get all the things you need to be able to care for a child. But that wasn’t accepted.”

Pierce listed off four other amendments that weren’t adopted on Thursday.

Rep. Sue Errington, D-Muncie, spoke positively about the bill giving those who didn’t need to file a tax return the opportunity to receive $225—as Gov. Eric Holcomb’s original plan applied only to taxpayers—and talked about a constituent named Linda who has cerebral palsy and asked before the bill was created to include a similar addition.

“Although I would like to see this bill be more than it is, along the lines that Rep. Porter explained and some of the other people who have testified, this is what we have,” Errington closed. “And so I’m going to be supporting this bill for all of us and for Linda.”

Two Republicans Spoil Unanimous Vote

Half of the “no” votes on the bill explained in the House Chamber their reasoning—half being one representative.

Rep. John Jacob, R-Indianapolis, said he would have voted for a bill that was only about the taxpayer refund, and HB 1001 is not the best way to help Hoosiers now.

“We could have reduced the gas tax, but we didn’t,” Jacob said. “We could have reduced the tax rate. We didn’t. I feel like we should have been dealing with things that we could have dealt with that are immediate instead of dealing with things that aren’t—in other words, not even knowing whether or not an abortion bill is going to be passed when we’re already dealing with issues that are related to that.”

Rep. Curt Nisly, R-Milford, was the other vote against and didn’t respond to The Statehouse File’s request for comment by press time.

House Speaker Rep. Todd Huston, R-Fishers, stepped down from his perch up front to speak forcibly for the bill.

“I guess I just want to be the one person that came up here and said I support the bill without a but,” Huston said. “I support the bill because at the end of the day, it’s our taxpayers’ money. I support the bill because I don’t want to determine exactly who gets it and who doesn’t. I think it should go back to everyone.”

Huston also insinuated the gas tax is an important reason for Indiana being “the No. 1 infrastructure state in the country”—likely a reference to the honor handed down by a CNBC study—by saying if the state suspends the gas tax, the result is “our roads crumbling.”

The House speaker agreed with Pierce that the bill is “modest” but said he sees the descriptor as a positive.

“Because you know who wasn’t modest?” Huston asked. “Who went big? Caused all this inflation for all of our families, for all Hoosiers? The folks in Washington, D.C.; they weren’t modest. They were going to do big things. Now those big things are impacting Hoosier taxpayers.”

“We didn’t get to be able to give a billion dollars back to people by accident,” Huston said. “We didn’t have the extra money to provide support to families by accident. It’s by being responsible. It’s by making the right decisions.”

FOOTNOTE: Jack Sells is a reporter for TheStatehouseFile.com, a news website powered by Franklin College journalism students.