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Monday, July 9, 2012

Indiana Records $2 Billion Surplus

Indiana announced that the state's budget reserves had topped $2 billion, enough to trigger $100 rebates for individual tax filers and $200 for couples who file jointly. In total, the state will give back about $300 million to taxpayers, and although the individual sums are by no means large, the refunds are enough to provide hard-pressed families with a bit more cushion for a week or two.
Contrast this to it neighbor to the west, Illinois. Last year, Illinois lawmakers scrambled to close a budget shortfall estimated at $11 billion. Despite substantial tax increases and deep cuts in services, the state ended the 2012 fiscal year, which closed June 30, with a shortfall of more than $8 billion. In fact, Illinois' auditor general recently released a report describing the state's deficit as the nation's worst based on the percentage of revenue.
It's not so much that Indiana is doing better than its profligate neighbor as is  the fact that Indiana is positioned to invest in infrastructure and education and Illinois cannot. Illinois is in a downward spiral, with higher taxes and no cash available for essential government services. And which state will buy into the Medicaid expansion which will at first be 90% funded by the federal government and tapering off there after leaving the state with unfunded spending commitments. Illinois of course.

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