According to this article in the Washington Times, at least a dozen states ended the fiscal year with a budgetary surprlus. Some of the states accomplished that feat even while cutting taxes, while others bit the bullet and cut popular programs.
At least a dozen states ended fiscal 2011 with surpluses. Indiana reported one of the largest, with an extra $1.2 billion in its accounts. Gov. Mitch Daniels, a Republican, on Friday authorized bonus payments of up to $1,000 for state employees. An employee who "meets expectations" will get $500, those who "exceed expectations" will receive $750 and "outstanding workers" will see an extra $1,000 in their August paychecks.
"No state anywhere comes close to Indiana's record of spending tax dollars carefully, with total savings over the last six years in the billions. Your spending efficiency has enabled us to stay in the black even as revenues plummeted," said Mr. Daniels, who recently flirted with a run for the White House but ultimately stayed out of the race.
While Indiana decided to reward its employees, other states are redirecting surplus funds into cash-strapped areas such as education. Idaho ended the year with an $85 million surplus, the majority of which will be funneled to public schools and colleges, Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter, a Republican, said in a statement last week.
Other states are bulking up their savings accounts. Maine finished the year with a surplus of nearly $50 million. About half will go to the state's reserve, the Bangor Daily News reported. Iowa closed its books with $480 million left over, on top of an already healthy "rainy day fund."
Ohio Gov. John Kasich, a Republican, on Sunday touted the fact that since taking office in January, he has helped the Buckeye State turn its deficit into a surplus.
"In my state, where we faced an $8 billion deficit, we wiped it out. We eliminated it," he said on "Meet the Press."
"We've been able to cut taxes, improve [and] reform government. And you know why? We looked [the fiscal problems] square in the eye. ... That is what they're not doing here in D.C. right now."
Arkansas and South Carolina have also shown surpluses. No, not all of the states showing surpluses are controlled by Republicans, but most of them are. Besides, it's not one party or the other that's acting responsibily, it is good governance and sound fiscal policies that are the difference. That, and increased revenue from taxes as the recovery from the meltdown continues.
By the way, the biggest difference between the states and the federal government? All but one state - Vermont - is constitutionally bound to operate under a balanced budget.
Hat Tip: Ed Lasky