Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Herald-Bulletin Argues State Surplus Comes at Expense of Hoosier Well-Being

From the Anderson Herald-Bulletin:

State auditor Suzanne Crouch proudly reported Monday that Indiana’s cash reserves have grown to slightly more than $2 billion. The state added $106.8 million to its coffers in the fiscal year that ended June 30 despite a $59.8 million drop in tax revenues.
The sizable surplus is earning Indiana accolades from Republicans and national budget watchers. Crouse herself trumpeted the state’s success, celebrating that the state hasn’t had to raise taxes, is living within its means while keeping “prudent” reserves and continues to be “the fiscal envy of the nation.”
Undoubtedly, fiscal solvency is important for a state government. Debt is crippling many states, especially neighboring Illinois and California. Cash reserves can mitigate disaster should an economic crisis like recession hit the state.
But let’s be realistic. If Indiana is taking in $59.8 million less – blamed on declines in revenues from the riverboat gambling tax, inheritance tax and individual income tax – and still is able to save $106.8 million, that extra cash isn’t being plucked from a secret forest of money trees.
It’s being built on the back of spending cuts and reduced funding to the services Hoosiers need most.