Batesville Herald Tribune, Batesville, Indiana

State News

July 6, 2012

State surplus triggers automatic refund

BATESVILLE — The state of Indiana has ended its fiscal year with a bonus for taxpayers: An automatic refund of at least $100 next year.

Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels announced that news at a press conference Tuesday, crediting a surplus of state revenues that kicks a new law into effect: Whenever the state collects a certain amount of more money than it needs to meet its yearly budget, a portion of that extra cash goes back into the pockets of Hoosiers.

The state is still closing out its books for the fiscal year that ended June 30, but Daniels said the preliminary information he's received indicates the state will have more than $2 billion in reserves. That's about 14 percent of the state budget and that's enough to trigger the state's first ever automatic taxpayer refund.

The governor said about 3 million state residents may be eligible for either the direct refund or a credit on taxes owed. Single filers should expect at least $100, while joint filers would get more than $200.

The state is also taking an equal chunk of money from the surplus – about $300 million – to put into the state's public pension funds.

Daniels said the median amount of state income tax paid by Indiana residents is $819; that amount should go down about 10 percent next year with the refund, he said.

"There will be a double-digit discount for the typical Indiana taxpayer, sharing in the economy dividend that comes from a strong state fiscal picture," Daniels said.

The governor is ending his second term in office in December, before taking his new job as president of Purdue University.

He said it had been his mission to put Indiana on a strong financial footing. "We thought this was a fundamental assignment of our administration – to turn over to our successors the strongest possible position," Daniels said.

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