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Column: Spend down state surplus? Been there, done that




Back in 1998, the state of Indiana had more than $1.3 billion in surplus funds in its general account.

This was about 57 days of state spending. The state had total surplus funds of over $2 billion, which was over 24 percent of its annual operating revenues.

I remember the cries of the time: The state should not be a bank, social spending has been cut to the bone and must be increased, taxes should be cut in the presence of such a “structural” surplus, and, of course, education spending should be increased at all levels. Oh yes, I remember it well: I was cranking out spreadsheets to make a case for property-tax cuts.

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