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Opening Arguments

Found money

By golly, this is historic. The state promised us some money back if its tax revenue piled up sufficiently, and we're actually going to get the refund:


INDIANAPOLIS -- Indiana taxpayers will be getting a refund of at least $100 next year, thanks to a surplus of state revenues and a new state law that requires some of the extra cash be returned to Hoosiers.

Gov. Mitch Daniels said this morning that while the state is still closing out the fiscal year books, preliminary data shows the state will close the fiscal year — which ended June 30 — with reserves of more than $2 billion. With reserves totaling at least 14 percent of the state’s budget, that’s more than enough to trigger the automatic refund.

Of course, there are refunds and then there are refunds. What the state plans to do is let us deduct $100 from what we will owe in taxes next year. That doesn't feel like real money, you know? Not much of a found-money thrill there. It would seem more substantial (and give the economy a bigger boost) if the state actually mailed us $100 checks. Not much point in sticking that amount in the bank, so the impulse of most of us would be to just go out and spend it on something fun.