STATEHOUSE REPORT FROM THE DESK OF SENATOR LONG

A Balancing Act

 

In state government, June 30 is New Years Eve. It’s the day Indiana closes the books on the fiscal year and checks the balance in its bank account. For years, the state of Indiana has had little to look forward to on June 30, but this year should be different.

Thanks to a Republican budget passed by the General Assembly and signed by Governor Mitch Daniels in 2005, Indiana will be in the black for the first time in more than a decade come July 1, the first day of the new fiscal year.

When the state began discussing the current budget in 2005, few believed Indiana could erase a $600 million deficit in the foreseeable future. The General Assembly, however, was able to reduce government spending while still providing funding increases to education and child services, and giving Hoosier homeowners some badly needed property tax relief. The result: Governor Daniels was able to balance the books earlier than expected, making July 1, 2006, a truly happy New Year for Hoosiers.

Couple the good budget news with a string of job announcements and low unemployment rates, and you’ll find that Indiana’s economic future, which was bleak at best 12 months ago, is now looking much better.

In addition to the deficit Indiana faced in 2005, the state also owed more than $700 million to schools and local units of government. The wildly successful tax amnesty plan, which the General Assembly adopted in 2005, along with additional appropriations this year will cut the amount of delayed payments in half by July 1, 2007.

I understand that Hoosier families work hard to balance their checkbooks. But for years, a bloated state government was spending more than it was taking in. Under Republican leadership, borrowing from retirement funds and delaying payments is no longer the way we do business.

The current budget is a sign of what is to come: fiscal responsibility. We in the Senate will work to identify areas that need additional funding and provide it. We will find areas where government is spending too much and make the appropriate cuts. We are committed to making sure that your tax dollars are spent prudently. You should expect no less of us.

 

Happy New Year.

The Waynedale News Staff
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Sen. David Long

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