Earlier today, we posted Rep. Pat Bauer’s remarks on the state surplus. Here is State Auditor Tim Berry’s much more favorable view:
State Auditor Tim Berry today announced Indiana’s state government remains in the black despite a continuing poor national economy and reduced receipts to the state.
For the FY2010-11 biennium, the State received 5.0% less revenue ($1.34 billion) and spent 5.5% ($1.52 billion) less than was anticipated in the budget that was passed in June 2009. Thanks to spending restraints, the State ended the FY2011 fiscal year with a reserve balance of $1.18 billion (9.1% of FY11 expenditures).
"Without raising taxes and by carefully watching spending, Indiana state government has continued to live within its means," said Auditor Berry. "For those who believe that raising taxes is the only way out of a fiscal crisis, I say take a look at the Hoosier State."
Guided by the leadership of Governor Mitch Daniels, state government agencies reverted $1.06 billion of their total budgets.
The latest budget numbers only reinforce Indiana’s position as one of the most fiscally-responsible states in the country. While other states have implemented massive tax increases or are spending money they don’t have, Indiana continues to keep taxes low and outlays under control.
Perhaps even more impressive—given the condition of the national economy—is the fact that Indiana’s reserve balance is nearly 1.2 billion dollars (a level that wasn’t predicted to be reached until 2013).
"Governor Daniels has made fiscal accountability one of the hallmarks of his time as governor and the results speak for themselves," continued Berry. "The real heroes of this budget year, however, are the state agencies and their employees who combined to return hundreds of millions of taxpayer money to the treasury."
You can also hear Indiana Fiscal Policy Institute President John Ketzenberger’s take here.