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Gov. Pence announces fiscal year ends with higher than expected surplus

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.– The State of Indiana is in even better financial shape than expected, according to state officials, who announced the latest numbers Thursday at the Indiana Statehouse.

A new report showed Indiana had a higher than projected bottom line, ending the fiscal year with a structural surplus $93 million higher than projected (at $483 million), and budget reserves of $1.94 billion, which is $86 million higher than projected. Still, political opponents said that doesn’t necessarily mean Indiana is using its money wisely.

“Indiana is strong and growing stronger” said Governor Pence. “As a result, Indiana remains the fiscal envy of the country.”

Gov. Pence also announced the state had paid off $282 million in debt on state-owned facilities, with an additional $66 million being paid on the bonds for the Miami Correctional Facility. Pence’s office said those measures would reduce state spending by about $27 million over the next two years.

“Once again, Indiana continues to be a model of fiscal responsibility,” said State Auditor Berry, who was recently tapped by Pence to be the state party chairman. “Our discipline when it comes to the state’s financial management allows us to meet our budgetary goals as well as positioning our state for a solid financial future. That is something most states today would envy.”

But House minority leader Scott Pelath, D-Michigan City, had a different take on Thursday’s numbers.

“The leaders of our state worship these surplus numbers like they are ends in and of themselves,” Pelath said in a written statement. “The fact is that these numbers only matter to the extent that our people are prospering. In that context, these numbers mean nothing… Let us not forget that these huge surplus numbers also were built on providing fewer services for the people of Indiana.”