Governor Mike Pence says he decided it was more important to pay down state debt this year than put money into the state’s pension stabilization fund.
Indiana finished the 2013 fiscal year with a nearly half billion dollar surplus, $93 million more than the recently-passed budget bill projected. Its reserve level of more than $1.9 billion is also higher than expected.
The reserves would have automatically put money into the pension stabilization fund, but Governor Pence says he opted instead to pay off $66 million in bonds for the Miami Correctional Facility.
“As I looked at this overall picture, my judgment was that our reserve levels at 13.1% are adequate and that paying down debt – saving taxpayers millions of dollars in interest payments – was a more effective use of those resources.”
In a statement, House Minority Leader Scott Pelath says the strong fiscal numbers are only meaningful if people are prospering. He points to continually high unemployment and schools struggling to do more with fewer resources as proof millions of Hoosiers are not doing well.