Indiana Auditor Suzanne Crouch recently released the end-of-year financial data for the state’s 2016 fiscal year, which concluded on June 30.
As Hoosiers have come to expect, Indiana ended the fiscal year with its books balanced and a strong reserve balance in place to protect taxpayers as well as core services like schools, roads and public safety, in the event of an economic downturn.
Common-sense fiscal management has become a defining characteristic of Indiana’s reputation on the national and international stage, and for good reason.
Consider a few of the highlights from the Auditor’s fiscal year closeout report:
·The state ended Fiscal Year 2016 with a $50 million surplus, building our overall reserve level to $2.245 billion – the highest level in state history.
·Under legislation passed in the 2016 session, $428 million from state reserve funds will be used for state and local road projects.
·This fiscal year, Indiana eliminated a loan from the federal government that was needed during the Great Recession to aid our unemployment insurance trust fund. Paying off this loan saves Indiana employers $327 million in unemployment insurance tax penalties, giving them more money to hire new workers and increase employee pay.
While we have worked hard to ensure our books remain balanced, we have also funded our key priorities and provided tax relief for hardworking Hoosiers.
In the past two years, the General Assembly has increased K-12 education funding by $474 million and road funding by $1 billion. Households and employers benefited from over $90 million in tax cuts this year, thanks to prior legislation that reduced the individual income tax, corporate income tax, financial institutions tax and death tax.
The commitment we’ve shown to fiscal responsibility and common-sense budgeting has been the foundation of our economic successes over the last decade.
Employers are attracted to states with stable, sustainable business climates that keep taxes low while still being able to fund essential public services. Indiana offers this environment to job creators and the positive results are evident.
The number of employed Hoosiers is at an all-time high while our state unemployment rate has fallen below the national average. Through the first half of 2016, unemployment insurance claims are at their lowest level since 1987 and since the Great Recession, Indiana’s private-sector employment growth has surpassed the national average.
These positive economic indicators aren’t just numbers and statistics. They mean greater opportunity for Hoosier workers and their families, which leads to an improved quality of life and more vibrant communities across the state.
As lawmakers look ahead to the 2017 legislative session when we will craft Indiana’s next two-year budget, it’s important that we continue to build on our proven track record of fiscal integrity that invests in our most critical needs while keeping our books honestly balanced.
As always, I welcome your thoughts on these and other issues. You can contact my office by email at Senator.Long@iga.in.gov or by phone at 800-382-9467.
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