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State auditor: Indiana was prepared for ‘unexpected’

State auditor: Indiana was prepared for ‘unexpected’
State auditor: Indiana was prepared for ‘unexpected’
Indiana state auditor Tera Klutz
Kaitlyn Clay, Staff Writer, [email protected]

In the state’s 2020 Year-End Report, State Auditor Tera Klutz said Indiana finished the fiscal year with $1.4 billion in reserves, after using nearly $900 million of its reserves to offset the revenue shortfall caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

While the state started the fiscal year with nearly $2.3 billion in reserves, Klutz said they were prepared for the unexpected and, according to her, so was Harrison County.

Klutz began traveling throughout the state in mid-July to meet with county auditors to hear and see how things have been going and what more can be done. One thing Klutz noted to be an impressive aspect to Harrison County is the Harrison County Community Foundation.

“I am a big cheerleader for counties that have a reserve, and Harrison County has the community foundation, a great resource for this area,” Klutz said during a stop in Corydon on July 22. “Having that as backup allows community leaders to make decisions that are best for the community without having to add a huge growth in taxes to make up for any losses.”

As the COVID-19 pandemic has altered spendings —and will continue to do so — in Indiana, Klutz noted that the top priority for government is the people of Indiana and their health and safety. Many residents are in need of governmental services they may have not had to utilize in the past, and Klutz said Gov. Eric Holcomb and his team are working to not see any drastic financial drops to various departments.

“The top priority are the residents of Indiana,” Klutz said. “Many counties have strong reserves, but it could still be up to three years or so ’til we are back to some normalcy. We are up for the challenge regardless of how long it lasts and will do everything to keep our Hoosiers safe.”

According to Klutz, the state budget committee will meet in September to put together a forecast for where the state can expect revenue to come from. With the earlier closure of Caesars Southern Indiana and gaming revenue taking a hit financially this year, Klutz said this will be important for Harrison County to pay attention to.

“Regardless of how long the pandemic lasts, I believe Indiana will be able to do what it needs to in order to make sure we are offering the services that people in the state need,” Klutz said. “I am encouraged, and I think we are up for the challenge.”