US & World

Indiana Built Up Savings Over The Past Few Years. COVID-19 Wiped Much Of That Out


This story is part of an NPR nationwide analysis of states' revenue and budgets during the pandemic.

Indiana officials expect the state to be short by $3 billion to 4 billion of its current two-year budget, a hole that amounts to 10% of overall spending.

That's because the COVID-19 pandemic brought sharp revenue declines in the state, particularly in individual income and sales taxes. And although Indiana has significant savings that can help with much of the loss, leaders say that by next June the state may be $1 billion short with no way to make up the difference.

Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb has already asked state agencies across the board to make cuts. It's not clear yet what those cuts will mean for jobs and services, but Holcomb has said "all options are on the table." The state is also slashing higher education budgets to help fill the hole.

K-12 education, however, will not be cut in the current budget; state officials already committed to funding the full amount schools were promised.

Many in the state are counting on help from the federal government, whether through flexibility with current COVID-19 relief dollars or new funds they can use to backfill the budget shortfall.

Brandon Smith is the Statehouse bureau chief for Indiana Public Broadcasting.

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