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Indiana Senate easily approves its version of inflation relief

Indiana Democratic Senator Greg Taylor speaks into a microphone while standing on the floor of the Indiana Senate chamber. Over Taylor's shoulder is a member of the Senate staff. Taylor is Black, bald, wears glasses and has a goatee. He's wearing a dark gray suit, blue shirt and a patterned, gray, black and blue tie.
Brandon Smith
/
IPB News
Sen. Greg Taylor (D-Indianapolis) speaks about an inflation relief bill on the floor of the Indiana Senate on July 30, 2022. He said lawmakers should send money directly to Hoosiers.

The Indiana Senate approved its version of inflation relief Saturday, setting up a showdown with the House over what the final package will look like.

The House plan is simple: send $225 checks to Hoosiers.

But Senate Republicans say that process is cumbersome and could add to inflation. Instead, Sen. Travis Holdman (R-Markle) said they want to suspend the state sales tax on utility bills – electricity, water, gas, internet and phone – for six months. They estimate it will save the average household $120 over that time.

“This is the most efficient way to go about refunding some of the dollars back to the taxpayer,” Holdman said.

READ MORE: House lawmakers send inflation relief, family financial supports bill to Senate

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Democrats like Sen. Greg Taylor (D-Indianapolis) proposed a plan – which was rejected by Senate Republicans Friday – that is similar to the House’s proposal.

“Our plan didn’t cost the state any more money than your plan and it put more money in the taxpayers’ pockets than what yours does,” Taylor said.

The Senate Republican plan, SB 3 (ss), also temporarily limits state taxes on gasoline and spends hundreds of millions of dollars to pay down state pension debt.

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

Brandon Smith has covered the Statehouse for Indiana Public Broadcasting for more than a decade, spanning three governors and a dozen legislative sessions. He's also the host of Indiana Week in Review, a weekly political and policy discussion program seen and heard across the state. He previously worked at KBIA in Columbia, Missouri and WSPY in Plano, Illinois. His first job in radio was in another state capitol - Jefferson City, Missouri - as a reporter for three stations around the Show-Me State.