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Indiana Democrats criticize Republicans for delaying inflation relief

Four Indiana state Democratic legislators speak to reporters at the Indiana Statehouse. At a lectern in the center is Representative Terri Austin. To the left are Representatives Carolyn Jackson and Cherrish Pryor and to the right is Senator Jean Breaux.
Brandon Smith
IPB News
Indiana Democratic lawmakers are criticizing Republicans for failing to provide more immediate inflation relief.

Indiana Democratic lawmakers are criticizing Republicans for failing to provide more immediate inflation relief.

A special session to provide such relief was supposed to begin Wednesday. But it was delayed for weeks as Republicans craft an abortion ban.

Democrats have been calling for a suspension of Indiana gas taxes for months, a call they renewed Wednesday. The state imposes two taxes on gasoline when you fill up: a 33-cent per gallon gas tax and a sales tax which changes rate each month based on the average price. In July, those are a combined 62.1 cents per gallon.

Rep. Terri Austin (D-Anderson) said if Republicans had suspended the gas taxes in March – as Democrats proposed – Hoosiers would've saved $168 by July 25 if they filled up 15 gallons a week.

READ MORE: Indiana special session on abortion and inflation relief delayed until July 25

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Democrats are also pushing for the governor's proposed $225 inflation relief checks to go to all Hoosiers, not just those who filed income tax returns last year. Rep. Cherrish Pryor (D-Indianapolis) said the GOP plan would leave out hundreds of thousands of people, many of them among the lowest-income Hoosiers.

“Every Hoosier has value and deserves to lead their lives with dignity,” Pryor said.

Gov. Eric Holcomb has said expanding his inflation relief plan would be too complicated for a special session. Sen. Shelli Yoder (D-Bloomington) scoffed at that idea as Republicans take weeks to create their abortion ban.

“We are about to criminalize health care," Yoder said. "We are about to criminalize women. What, that’s not too difficult to figure out?”

The special session is set to begin July 25.

Contact reporter Brandon at bsmith@ipbs.org or follow him on Twitter at @brandonjsmith5.

Brandon Smith has covered the Statehouse for Indiana Public Broadcasting for more than a decade, spanning three governors and a dozen legislative sessions. He's also the host of Indiana Week in Review, a weekly political and policy discussion program seen and heard across the state. He previously worked at KBIA in Columbia, Missouri and WSPY in Plano, Illinois. His first job in radio was in another state capitol - Jefferson City, Missouri - as a reporter for three stations around the Show-Me State.