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State forecast: $1.28 billion more available in 2-year cycle

INDIANAPOLIS – Lawmakers will have $1.28 billion more to spend in the next two-year budget cycle than in the last, according to a forecast released Monday.

And the state has a projected $362 million structural surplus this year, meaning it didn't spend all the revenue possible in the current budget.

But there are already competing needs for dollars - including increased obligations for Medicaid and a push to boost K-12 school support.

Gov.-elect Mike Pence also is pushing a state income tax cut that could cost up to $500 million a year in revenue when fully implemented.

"This is a forecast, not a guarantee," said Sen. Luke Kenley, R-Noblesville. "I'm a little skeptical."

He said it points to a growing economy, but he also doesn't want to promise too much to Hoosiers and then have to pull back.

"It's a whole lot easier to hope for the best and expect the worst," Kenley said.

The forecast predicts 2.2 percent revenue growth in fiscal year 2014 and 2.9 percent growth in fiscal year 2015.

For more on this story, see Tuesday's print edition of The Journal Gazette or visit www.journalgazette.net after 3 a.m. Tuesday.

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