Leo Morris: How To Spend My Tax Refund | Notice

I want so badly to be a good Hoosier, an honest citizen who will do the right thing.

But the officials in Indiana are ready to give me money, and I’m terrified of wasting it on frivolities and giving up on my beloved state.

Well, don’t exactly “give” me money. So that I’m not tempted by a sudden infusion of money, they plan to disguise the giveaway as a “tax credit” when I prepare my 2021 return next year. This could result in a larger refund than I expected, or maybe I will owe the state less than I normally should.

To give credit to our officials, they have made heroic efforts to keep the money in the state coffers instead of letting it escape into the economy to corrupt public morals.

When lawmakers passed a law capping the state’s surplus at 12.5% ​​of spending – half of the surplus going to taxpayers if the threshold was met – most of us recognized it as a simple gesture of goodwill. No one really expected the state to return money to the people it was taken from, which goes against the natural order of things.

But to our horror, that trigger was hit in 2012 and every income tax filer got a refund of $ 111. And we all remember the savage abandonment in 2012 – sometimes still called the Year of Debauchery – when Hoosiers succumbed to an orgy of reckless extravagance.

And this year, the unthinkable – an even larger surplus of $ 3.9 billion. A whopping 23% of state spending, requiring nearly $ 2 billion in repayments.

Lawmakers, bless their hearts, tried to avert this disaster by draining reserves as quickly as they could – a few hundred million here for the teachers’ pension fund, a hundred million there to pay off construction loans. early. But that still left $ 545 million required for the Hoosiers.

At least the officials are trying to curb our enthusiasm. While the surplus is higher than it was in 2012, they warn, there will be more taxpayers to share it, so we shouldn’t expect a big windfall.

I appreciate the effort – really, I’m doing it – but I’m afraid the damage has been done. I’m already planning ways to spend the money and I don’t admire the stingy person I am becoming.

I could buy a whole tank of gas at a time. Imagine being able to travel nearly 400 miles without even stopping to refuel. The mind is racing.

If there is enough left, I narrowed it down to two choices. I could have my hair cut by a professional who went to school to train there. Or I could go out for dinner – not a quick trip to a fast food restaurant, but a real meal to a sit down restaurant.

You can see the problem.

Not only do I think I am selfish – abusing state largesse by spending the money on myself alone – but incredibly short-sighted. A car trip that only lasts a few hours? A haircut that should be redone in just a few weeks? A meal that would be digested overnight?

I have been thinking and thinking, and I think I have a solution.

I will use whatever wonderful gift Indiana gave me to buy state lottery tickets.

This means that the money will return to the state it belongs to, taken care of by sensitive officials who would spend the money much more wisely and fairly than I ever could.

And there is a 1 in 9.4 million chance that I will win the top prize.

Quite a few good chances for a taxpayer.

Leo Morris is a columnist for The Indiana Policy Review. Contact him at [email protected]

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