Statement issued Tuesday:
Senate President Pro Tem David Long (R-Fort Wayne) said today the Indiana Senate is leading by example during tough budgetary times by sending back nearly 14 percent of its fiscal year 2010 budget to the state general fund. The Senate is the first to announce the results of its own cost-cutting measures. The money was reverted back to state coffers on June 30, the end of the 2010 fiscal year.
Total Senate budget savings were $1.9 million, or 13.9 percent of its overall fiscal year 2010 budget. These savings are in addition to the 4.8 percent that was trimmed by Senate leaders during the course of the budget-writing process last year. The Senate has achieved cost savings by finding operating efficiencies, eliminating non-essential expenditures, going without pay raises for two consecutive years and suspending new hiring for all but essential personnel.
"Indiana Senate leaders understand that government is not recession proof," Long said. "Hoosier families, businesses and farms have had to do some serious belt-tightening during this economic downturn, and we must do the same. By being responsible with the taxpayers' money now, Indiana will be positioned to emerge from this recession stronger and in better shape than many other states."
When the 2010 fiscal year ended last Wednesday, state tax revenues were about a billion dollars short of budgeted amounts, due to the ongoing effects of the global recession. The significant revenue shortfalls led Gov. Mitch Daniels to reduce state agency budgets by at least 10 percent from their fiscal year 2010 budgeted amount in order to improve the state's bottom line. He has called on the legislature, the courts and other elected officials to find savings of their own. The Senate exceeded this 10 percent goal by voluntarily cutting 4.8 percent during the budget process and reverting an additional 13.9 percent through cost savings.
Long noted that reducing spending will help lawmakers avoid an economy-killing tax increase during already tough times.
"The best thing government can do to help pull us out of this recession is to create an environment where private enterprise can flourish," Long said. "One of the best ways to do that is to keep the tax burden low. Controlling state spending and finding efficiencies wherever we can will help us sustain a good business climate."