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House Democrats push to spend state surplus on helping Hoosiers

By Brandon Smith, IPB News | Published on in Government, Politics
Rep. Phil GiaQuinta (D-Fort Wayne) calls the state's $4 billion surplus "unconscionable" amid the "suffering" of Hoosiers during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Lauren Chapman/IPB News)

Indiana House Democrats want the legislature to spend some of the state’s $4 billion surplus this year to help support struggling Hoosiers.

Minority Leader Phil GiaQuinta (D-Fort Wayne) delivered a speech to the House on the opening day of the 2022 session Tuesday.

Republican leaders are resistant to spending any new money this year, noting that 2022 is a non-budget session.

But GiaQuinta said Hoosiers deserve to have the state invest in them – whether by helping them with medical debt, child care costs or student loans.

“Just scraping by when you’re working two or three jobs is a kind of economic imprisonment,” GiaQuinta said. “It tramples the spirit of hardworking Hoosiers.”

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With a tax cut debate at the center of the 2022 session, GiaQuinta said that discussion should include creating a child tax credit. And his caucus is pushing for paid leave legislation.

“No Hoosier should have to choose between caring for a loved one and a paycheck,” GiaQuinta said. “Paid leave is not a perk. Paid leave is a necessary and fair policy for creating stable and secure economies and households.”

This year’s session is set to end in March.

Contact reporter Brandon at bsmith@ipbs.org or follow him on Twitter at @brandonjsmith5.