(INDIANAPOLIS) - State refunds for Indiana taxpayers will likely be bigger than first expected, Gov. Mitch Daniels said Tuesday.
Norman Cox of RTV6 reported that the governor signed into law a bill that refines the automatic taxpayer refund that's triggered when the state surplus exceeds 12.5 percent of the state budget.
"This, of course, makes Indiana a state that says at some point, when budgets are balanced and reserves are full, the state should stop collecting money and leave it with the people who earned it," Daniels said. "We think it's a very important principle."
The refunds will come as an add-on to next spring's regular refunds.
Originally, key lawmakers had predicted the refunds would be $40 or $50 per taxpayer. But Daniels had a rosier projection Tuesday.
"Although we won't know until the end of June when we close the books, we're raising our estimate of what this refund is likely to be to something closer in the area of $70 an individual, $140 for a joint return," he said. "Three-point-three million Hoosiers will receive it, more or less."
To qualify, a person will have to file state income tax returns in both 2012 and 2013 and have paid at least some income tax in those years.
Hoosiers will have to file to get the refund from the surplus, but it won't be a separate piece of paperwork from the regular income tax.
"It'll be on the tax return. We think that makes it easier for taxpayers, as well as administratively cheaper and more efficient for the state," said Sen. Brandt Hershman, R-Buck Creek. "So you'll simply figure out what you owe the state, and then you will reduce that liability by either the single amount or the double amount if you're filing jointly."
House Speaker Brian Bosma said the refunds are possible because of two reasons -- the state economy is doing better and generating more revenue, and government held the reins on spending, protecting the surplus.
"We were able to weather the storm that took so many other states down a very bad path, and it was because we treated this like we treat our own family budgets and our business budgets," he said. "We haven't spent money that we don't have."
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