Indiana’s ‘AAA’ Credit Rating to Benefit Hoosier Taxpayers
Indiana’s first-ever credit rating boost from ‘AA+’ to ‘AAA’ by Standard & Poor’s is a significant stride for state government and bottom-line benefit to Hoosier taxpayers.
As a result, state and local government and schools can save millions of dollars a year in interest on bonds. That means Hoosier taxpayers will ultimately end up paying fewer hard-earned tax dollars in the long run. This is a strong testament to state government’s fiscal discipline, aggressive economic development efforts and our historic property tax reform package.
Analysts everywhere are noticing Indiana’s comeback:
Strong fiscal management including four years of balanced state budgets, starting in 2005 with the most frugal in 55 years;
Early elimination of hundreds of millions of dollars in delayed payments owed previously to schools, universities and local governments;
A $1.4 billion surplus compared to deficits plaguing surrounding states;
Low overall state debt;
An ever-growing and diversified economic base with new jobs in alternative fuels, life sciences and technology;
An improving business climate recognized among CNBC’s 2008 “America’s Top States for Business;”
158 companies choosing Indiana over another state or country to make their next job-creating investments in 2007;
22,600 new jobs averaging $20.56 per hour (more than $2 above the state average);
Lowest unemployment rates in the Midwest (better than Kentucky, Ohio, Illinois and Michigan);
A No.1 ranking among Midwestern states for our overall business climate; and
Another No. 1 state ranking for new international investments in 2007.
This year’s Indiana property tax reforms—controls on local government and school spending, voter referenda on their major construction projects, better alignment of state and local responsibilities with state budgets and local budgets, and permanent caps on property taxes—should markedly change future debt and interest paid by taxpayers. Until now, about 24 cents of every dollar paid in property taxes went toward interest on school and local government debt.
We’ve worked diligently to help Indiana turn the corner toward better financial footing. This is a dramatic change from the days of liberal mismanagement when our S&P bond rating was reduced not once, but twice during 2002-2004. Today, Indiana is proudly situated among just nine other states that have earned S&P’s AAA rating.
Hoosier hard work pays off!
Sen. David Long (R-Fort Wayne) is President Pro-Tem of the Indiana Senate. He serves District 16, which includes portions of Fort Wayne.