Dem Leader Bauer: State Surplus is ‘Gimmicky’

Indiana House Democratic Leader Pat Bauer issued the following statement yesterday. I’m posting it in full here and simply asking, "Do you agree with him, or do you think Gov. Daniels’ efforts in creating — and now touting — the over $1 billion surplus are commendable?" Let us know in the comments section:

Indiana House Democratic Leader B. Patrick Bauer of South Bend today issued the following statement on the fiscal year closeout of the biennial state budget:

“For an administration obsessed with nothing more than the bottom line, the news that we have a budget surplus of more than $1 billion must be very gratifying.

“But thinking people should take the time to ponder a few points.

“From even the most cursory examination, it is apparent that this budget surplus has not been built on a strong economy keyed on job creation. That’s because this administration has no such program.

“Instead, it is obvious that this surplus owes a great deal to budget reversions and other accounting tricks that this administration frowned upon when it took office. Without the past use of federal stimulus dollars, the continual demand for trimming agency budgets, and the occasional raid on dedicated funds, our financial picture would not be as rosy as the governor and the auditor would like.

“At that point, it is prudent to wonder at the cost extracted by these gimmicks. What services are suffering as a result of the obsessive need to maintain a $1 billion surplus?

“These questions are not new. A year ago, they were asked and the administration’s response was turning over hundreds and hundreds of pages of documents that offered a recipe for dandelion wine, but nothing concrete about budget cuts. That information only came when the cuts began to have a human impact and people were hurt.

“Indiana House Democrats continue to be concerned about the toll that’s being extracted here. What kind of effect does this obsession with the bottom line have on helping Hoosier families, providing quality schools and creating jobs with decent wages?

“Our schools have paid a heavy price already: hundreds of millions of dollars in lost state support, cut at the governor’s demand. Now they will lose even more funding as this administration pursues its grand social experiment to gut public schools in favor of private programs and schools available only to a select few.

“But we aren’t taking enough time to consider the impact on families.

“Consider the fact that we have gradually moved away from a system of funding government services that relied upon a combination of personal and business taxes toward one that places the greatest burdens upon individuals and families. Business taxes get cut – something that happened again this year – while families find themselves paying more fees and charges and taxes.

“At some point, we have to think about what we can do to help them. A good place to start would be placing a greater priority on finding them jobs, rather than talking about it.

“Families are more important than a $1 billion bottom line, particularly when that bottom line crunches them the most.”