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Bitter winter hitting Indiana's revenue stream

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. The Associated Press
Sunday, February 9, 2014 - 9:54 am

INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana's punishing winter weather is taking a bite out of the state's revenue stream, with heavy snow and subzero cold trapping many residents at home or curtailing their shopping.

State budget officials said Friday that Indiana's January revenue totaled $1.33 billion. That's $38.3 million, or nearly 3 percent, below the January revenue forecast and $93 million, or 6.5 percent, less than Indiana took in during January 2013.

State Office of Management and Budget director Chris Atkins told The (Munster) Times the frigid, snowy winter's full impact on commerce and tax revenue likely won't be known until March or April because tax collections typically lag about a month behind.

Nearly every state revenue category failed to hit its January target, including sales taxes and personal income taxes — Indiana's two largest revenue sources.

January sales tax revenue totaled $645.6 million, which is $15.5 million, or 2.3 percent, less than expected. Last month's income tax revenue was $591.3 million, missing the forecast by $13.2 million, or 2.2 percent.

House Speaker Brian Bosma, R-Indianapolis, said the state's revenue woes make him hesitant in deciding whether to push ahead with plans to reduce the state's business personal property tax and corporate income tax rate.

"Revenues have been inconsistent over the last five months, so we're looking at that closely," Bosma said. "Any type of tax reform has to be judiciously reviewed and has to be prudent."

Indiana lawmakers likely will get the February revenue results only days before voting in early March on passage of those proposed business tax cuts.