The U.S. News and World Report recently ranked Indiana No. 1 on its list of “Best States,” according to State Rep. Matt Lehman (R-Berne).
The ranking was based on several categories including fiscal stability, budget transparency, government digitalization and state integrity.
“Factors taken into consideration for this ranking – small government, fiscal conservatism, transparency – are the foundation of my political belief system,” Lehman said. “Operating state government based on these conservative principles has resulted in Indiana recovering from the economic crisis in 2009 faster than other states. We have built up our reserves, attracted new investments to the state and put more Hoosiers to work than ever before.”
Indiana was ranked first in the nation for budget transparency overall. Lehman said Indiana has honestly balanced its budget since 2005, remained fiscally responsible and maintained healthy reserves since House Republicans took over the majority in 2004.
Creating an honestly balanced budget has afforded Indiana fully funded pension liabilities and a AAA credit rating. Lehman said Indiana has reduced the number of state employees by 20 percent over 10 years, reduced state-funded debt by 68 percent since 2005 and cut state agency budgets by almost 30 percent since 2009. Legislators have also eliminated more than 70 government boards and commissions and 600 government appointments while maintaining prudent reserves of at least 10 percent of current-year revenues in the past three biennial budgets. Indiana has also continued to fund its priorities, which include education and public safety.
House Republicans have maintained a commitment to transparency and digitization in government by live broadcasting each House session online since 2005, and House committee meetings since 2007. In 2011, House Republican members authored legislation to increase budgetary transparency within state and local government. The resulting law required the state auditor to create the Indiana Transparency Portal, www.in.gov/itp, bringing better visibility, openness and accountability to state government. The portal contains information including agency budgets, state contracts, agency performance measures and local government expenditures. Lehman said it gives Indiana taxpayers a detailed look at the state’s finances, from top to bottom.
“Despite this national recognition, Indiana is not slowing down,” Lehman said. “Policymakers are currently working on passing yet another balanced state budget, crafting a new measure removing obsolete laws from the books, and implementing policies that will help our workforce meet the needs of employers.”
Rep. Matt Lehman (R-Berne) represents House District 79, which includes all of Adams County and portions of Allen and Wells counties.
A high-resolution photo of Lehman can be downloaded by clicking here.