First Posted: 7/21/2011 10:30:43 PM | Last Updated: 7/21/2011 10:31:22 PM
BY STATE SEN. BRANDT HERSHMAN
INDIANAPOLIS -- State officials announced this week the final fiscal-year numbers, which ended June 30, and the news is encouraging to Indiana taxpayers.
Improving revenues - combined with continued conservative spending by Gov. Mitch Daniels and legislative Republicans - allowed Indiana to balance its books and end fiscal year 2011 with $1.18 billion in reserves. Total state general fund revenues grew 8.9 percent over the previous fiscal year, significantly more than state leaders estimated when the fiscal year began.
Indiana is a great example of what can be accomplished when leaders work together to craft common-sense policies that spend taxpayer dollars responsibly. Often we hear about the major struggles faced in Washington D.C . and other state capitals where leaders aren't able to make the decisions necessary to live within their means. Indiana has again proven that it's not only possible to balance the books, but it can be done without raising taxes.
During the last state budget biennium, which was severely impacted by the national economic recession, Indiana's budget was largely kept balanced by spending restraint. Over the biennium, the state received 5 percent less revenue than anticipated, but covered those losses by trimming spending by 5.5 percent.
The state's improved level of reserves is also encouraging, given the continued volatility in the national and global economies.
Indiana's economic forecasting consultant recently reminded lawmakers that a good deal of uncertainty still exists in the U.S. and international economies, which could pose a threat to state revenues in the future. With this warning in mind, I believe it's prudent to build and protect a healthy level of reserves. We've seen in recent years how important it is to have sufficient reserves in place in the event of an economic downturn.