Governor Eric J. Holcomb offered the following statement regarding the 2019 fiscal year close out report outlined today by Indiana Auditor Tera Klutz, CPA:
“Indiana’s economy is on a roll, and our reserves are healthy because of robust revenue growth. It is of paramount importance that Indiana continue sound fiscal management to further fortify our strong fiscal position.
Therefore, I am recommending we use nearly $300 million of reserves to pay for several one-time capital projects and to finish the free-flow of U.S. Hwy. 31. We have an opportunity to reduce our ongoing costs by paying cash rather than borrowing for several projects approved by the Indiana General Assembly in this year’s legislative session. Paying for capital projects now maintains Indiana’s low debt burden, avoids lease obligations over the next 25 years and leads to taxpayer savings of more than $100 million.
Earlier this week, I discussed these recommendations with House Speaker Bosma and Senate President Pro Tem Bray, including my desire that the state maintain fiscally responsible reserves of nearly $2 billion or 12.2 percent of expenditures after putting aside money for the following capital projects:
- $50 million for the swine barn at the Indiana State Fairgrounds
- $73 million for the Purdue College of Veterinary Medicine teaching hospital
- $60 million for the Ball State University STEM and Health Professions facilities
- $30 million for the Ivy Tech Columbus main building replacement
In 2018, I made the commitment to improve access and safety on U.S. Hwy. 31 from Indianapolis to South Bend by eliminating all traffic signals and rail crossings. Our fiscal position allows us to provide approximately $78 million so the Indiana Department of Transportation can complete this transformational project.
I asked the legislative leaders to strongly consider my proposal when the Indiana General Assembly returns in January 2020. We will work over the next six months to demonstrate how the ongoing savings can be best used for tackling our priorities in the next budget, such as providing meaningful increases in teacher compensation so Indiana is competitive with neighboring Midwestern states.
I am grateful to state agency leaders and employees, legislative leadership and Auditor Klutz who all help maintain our position as the fiscal envy of the nation.”