In December we blogged about the outrage of an apparent programming error resulting in the discovery of $300 million that Indiana did not know it had. And now, the converse has happened as a result of yet another programming error. From WTHR-13:
Indiana budget officials say $206 million communities could have spent on public safety, streets and other services residents expect was mistakenly kept by the state.
The local income tax revenue collected by the state is now being transferred to local governments after the oversight was discovered, and the head of Indiana’s Department of Revenue is stepping down.
What is going on in Indiana? It sure is easy for the anti-spending crusaders to cry “budget deficit” when hundreds of millions of dollars are mysteriously missing every three months.
The question quickly became what to do with the money. Use it on pressing matters…or hoard it?
Democrats see the windfall as a solution to a public safety crisis.
Indianapolis Metro Police and the Marion County Sheriff’s Departments have estimated budget deficits totaling $25 million.
City Council President Maggie Lewis wants to spend at least some of the money now.
“If public safety is job one, this is our opportunity to correct the shortfall,” she said.
Mayor Greg Ballard disagrees. He plans to used the cash to offset an even bigger budget crisis expected next year.
“Let’s do everything we can to live in the budget parameters as they are now set. Let’s use this money. Bank it and apply it to next year’s deficit,” said mayoral spokesman Marc Lotter, explaining the mayor’s position.
But Marion County Sheriff John Layton insists his department can’t wait. With a predicted $16 million shortfall, he needs help now.
“Why would we hold on to that money until next year? The wheel is coming off the axle right now,” argued Layton.
Read more from WTHR-13 HERE.