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Auditor Race Heats Up As State Closes Out Fiscal '14

Brandon Smith
Indiana Public Broadcasting

Indiana will close the books today on the fiscal year that ended June 30. State Auditor Suzanne Crouch updates Hoosiers on how the state’s revenues performed. 

But Crouch’s Democratic opponent in this fall’s election is accusing the Pence administration of “cooking the books.”

Indiana tax collections struggled for much of the fiscal year, prompting Pence to cut state agency and university budgets and even sell one of the state planes. 

As revenues rebounded the last few months, the governor repeatedly said the state would end the fiscal year with a budget surplus of $100 million and reserves near $2 billion.  Pence calls Indiana the fiscal envy of the nation.

“I’m very, very proud of the efforts that we’ve made in our administration to manage Indiana’s resources in a fiscally responsible way and I really do believe that our fiscal integrity is the foundation of our prosperity,” the governor says.

But Democratic state auditor candidate Michael Claytor says that so-called “fiscal integrity” has been built by unnecessarily padding the state’s reserves.  A former public accountant, Claytor says Pence should use some of the reserve money to more fully fund programs such as the special needs adoption subsidy.

“When I’m state Auditor, I will not support putting the state’s fund balance ahead of the needs of Indiana’s most vulnerable citizens,” Claytor says.

Claytor says the reserve balance Pence and Crouch will trumpet also doesn’t take into account payments the state will likely have to make in the future, such as a payout in its lawsuit with IBM over the failed privatization by that company of the state's welfare services.