Press release: ICYMI: Republicans Gut Fiscal Transparency, Tax Relief, Family Care Measures On Final Day; 7-percent Indiana “Pink Tax” Remains in Effect

The following press release was sent to the Bloomingtonian:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Indiana Democratic Party

Contact: Sam Barloga, 219-671-8662

[email protected]

March 8, 2024

ICYMI: Republicans Gut Fiscal Transparency, Tax Relief, Family Care Measures On Final Day

INDIANAPOLIS — Just days after passing language to reimburse Medicaid attendant care costs, remove sales taxes on female hygiene products, and study the $1 billion FSSA shortfall, the Republican supermajority removed those provisions in the final hours of session behind closed doors.

Statehouse Democrats worked hard to get these family-first amendments tacked on to successful legislation, just to see them taken away from Hoosiers at the last minute. This means Indiana will remain top in the country for “pink tax” rates, families with children with complex medical conditions could lose the care they need, and Hoosiers won’t get answers into the $1 billion budget shortfall. Over 1,600 disabled children could lose their care – it’s unacceptable.

“Hoosiers want solutions – and Democrats worked hard to address the attendant care crisis, remove the unjust pink tax, and demand fiscal transparency,” said Indiana Democratic Party Chair Mike Schmuhl. “We’re disheartened by the removal of these provisions – which would have helped countless families in our state. 

“Under the watch of this excessive Republican supermajority, we have a $1 billion budget shortfall for Indiana Medicaid – impacting critical care for families all over our state. Republicans have made it clear they don’t want more transparency. They don’t want to have to own up for the mistakes they’ve made. It’s time to elect more Democratic members who care about transparency, and break this unaccountable supermajority.”

Here’s what some Democratic lawmakers had to say about today’s actions:

State Rep. Gregory Porter (Indianapolis): “I’ve been disappointed in my colleagues across the aisle countless times, but their decision today blows all their past actions out of the water. They turned a blind eye to our families who are financially and physically stressed since they’re caring for medically complex loved ones. Statehouse Republicans expect you to grin and bear this hardship that they can’t even fathom. To make matters worse, they made this decision behind closed doors. They stripped these amendments during a private conversation. They didn’t even have the basic decency to do this in front of the public.”

State Rep. Sheila Klinker (Lafayette): “I’m deeply saddened that our families were denied relief from the proposed cuts after closed-door negotiations. I know how important this funding is to our most vulnerable, and I believe that trained parents and loved ones provide the best care possible. I would like to thank Debby Holcombe, a loving mother who cares for her son Michael, for visiting the Statehouse and sharing her story with me. I hope we can continue to work together during the interim to find a solution to this issue. To our families on this program, thank you for the care you are providing and the love you share with others.” 

State Rep. Carey Hamilton (Indianapolis): “Just days ago, the House passed a provision to exempt female hygiene products from sales tax only to strip the language today. Republicans are making another harmful-to-women policy decision on International Women’s Day.

“Indiana is currently tied with Tennessee and Mississippi for the highest tax on menstrual products at 7%. 1 in 5 Hoosier girls struggle to afford feminine hygiene products, and women in Indiana pay approximately $5 million in sales tax on menstrual products every year.  The provision removed from SB 256 would have brought us closer to a more equitable tax structure and allowed working women and Hoosier families to keep more of their hard-earned money.”

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