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Indiana blames polar vortex for drop in tax collections

INDIANAPOLIS – Severe winter weather is being blamed for a sharp drop in tax collections by the state.

The State Budget Agency reported Friday that tax collections came in $54 million less than expected in February. Sales tax collections fell $19 million below expectations, largely because of the polar vortex that hit the state.

The drop comes as Republican Gov. Mike Pence is seeking approval for new spending in a handful of areas, including early childhood education. Senate Republicans have expressed apprehension about approving new spending this session, in part because of the state’s budget constraints.

The tax numbers for February follow a few months after Pence was forced to cut agency budgets and put the state plane up for sale because of a roughly $300 million budget downturn.

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