Muncie loan, school safety, tax code update among priorities for May 14 special session

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana Republican Statehouse leaders announced their plans for an upcoming special session in May.

House Speaker Brian Bosma and Senate leader David Long discussed the bills they expect to consider and transparency measures they plan to take.

Gov. Eric Holcomb issued a proclamation Friday calling for the May 14 special session. He said he believes the legislative priorities can be finished in a single day.

A number of bills died in the final hours of this year’s regular legislative session, which descended into chaos as bickering Republicans failed to come to terms.

Bosma admitted that they weren’t “thrilled” to be returning on May 14, but he believes the session would go quickly and efficiently. Both he and Long echoed the governor’s belief that they could wrap things up in a single day.

Bosma said they would arrive at the Statehouse at 9 a.m. and “won’t leave until our work is done.”

The content of the bills will be the same as it appeared during the 2018 legislative session. They anticipated few changes and said the agenda had the governor’s full support.

Holcomb said priorities for the session include bills concerning school safety and updating the state’s tax code. From the governor’s office:

Schools and School Safety

  • Deliver on the governor’s request for additional funding for the Indiana Secured School Fund by providing $5 million now and for fiscal year 2019. These additional funds will allow the state to provide increased financial support for school safety to more schools.
  • Allow school corporations to obtain funding advances of up to $500,000 for school security equipment and capital purchases. Total advances may not exceed $35 million.
  • Provide Muncie schools a one-time $12 million loan to remain operational and make needed capital improvements.

Federal Compliance Issues

  • Update the state’s tax code to conform with federal tax changes by updating state’s conformity date to Feb. 11, 2018. Indiana’s current conformity date is fixed by statute at Jan. 1, 2016. If the state’s conformity date is not updated, taxpayers will calculate their taxes twice to file—once under 2018 rules for federal taxes and once under 2016 rules for state taxes.
  • Comply with IRS rules to protect federal taxpayer information and assure access to federal tax data.

Democrats hit back with a statement that chided Republicans for being unable to finish things in March.

“We are having a special session for one reason: the Republicans couldn’t get their work done on time back in March. They control both chambers and the governor’s office, and they could not get their work done on time because they were too busy bickering with each other,” House Democratic Leader Terry Goodin said in a statement.

Goodin criticized the measure that would effectively result in state control of schools in Gary and Muncie. He also expressed disappointment in the lack of action regarding the “troubled” Department of Child Services.