Fiscal strength produces results
Tuesday, April 04, 2017 3:00 PM
We’ve long seen the results of Indiana’s zeal for fiscal responsibility.
The U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey predicts that the number of Illinois residents pulling up stakes and moving to Indiana likely will grow in the coming years because of factors including a lower cost of living and lower taxes.
More than 34,220 Illinois residents moved to Indiana in 2015, the most recent year for which data was available.
The Illinois Policy Institute attributes Indiana’s net positive migration numbers to a better business climate and lower taxes, including sales taxes that are 23 percent lower than in Illinois. Illinois lost a net of more than 119,000 residents to Indiana from 2006 through 2015, it said.
Indiana continues enjoying a triple-A bond rating on the strength of fiscal frugality and maintaining a $2 billion budget reserve.
Now we can celebrate a U.S. News and World Report ranking for Indiana as the most effective state government in the nation. But let’s also keep a steadfast focus on fixing our weaknesses.
The ranking, based on measured metrics from the McKinsey and Co. Leading States Index, came largely because of Indiana’s fiscal health, budget stability and spending transparency.
Meanwhile, neighboring Illinois ranked 47th out of 50 states for government effectiveness, largely because of its perennial financial struggles.
Our state should continue to use such rankings as marketing strengths to lure more businesses and residents to friendlier fiscal confines.
On other key measures within the recent state rankings, Indiana also earned high marks for economic opportunity (ranked 4th), cost of living (8th) and elementary and high school education (11th).
We should be proud of all these recognized qualities but also use the strengths as motivation for improving our weaknesses.
Indiana ranked among the worst for household income (35th), obesity (36th), preschool enrollment (38th), health care (41st), infant mortality (42nd), entrepreneurship (44th) and higher education (47th).
Imagine the strength of our state if we made concerted efforts to improve these quality of life factors.
We’re fortunate to live in a state with a firm, responsible fiscal foothold. Let’s channel some of that acumen into seriously addressing our shortcomings, as well.