Indiana recently closed out another fiscal year of balanced budgets and significant reserves. As the national deficit continues to climb and other states operate in the red year after year, this is a welcome reminder of why it's great to be a Hoosier.
In Indiana, we maintain a commitment to fiscal responsibility by keeping taxes low and government efficient – concepts which seem to evade many states as well as Washington, D.C. We believe government should balance its checkbook just as millions of Hoosier workers and families do.
While the federal debt balloons toward $18 trillion, Indiana has decreased its debt by 50 percent in recent years. In addition to paying off our debts, we've been able to trim the fat on government bureaucracy and target taxpayer dollars to areas where they are needed most.
Our financial responsibility enables us to invest wisely in public services that support economic mobility – like education and infrastructure improvement. In the most recent budget, Indiana increased K-12 education funding by more than $300 million and higher education by more than $100 million. We've also increased funding for roads and bridges by more than $400 million through 2015 to pay for critical repairs and advancements.
Indiana was able to make these commitments without raising taxes. In fact, in the last two years, our state has cut taxes on individuals, families and employers.
Our state's finances are in good shape, and the rest of the country is taking notice. Indiana is one of 11 states that maintains a triple-A credit rating by all of the major independent credit-rating agencies. Our state also ranks first in the Midwest and 10th nationally in the Tax Foundation's 2014 Business Tax Climate Index.
What's more, a recent report from Standard and Poor's names Indiana as one of only six states positioned to weather any future economic downturns. Unfortunately, we're not immune from the unpredictable performance of the national and global economies. Having a safety net in place is critical to keep employment and public services steady in difficult times.
Balanced budgets and prudent tax policy not only keep us fiscally solvent, they create the best environment for employers to hire. This recipe for success has helped us outpace most states in economic growth. Indiana's private sector added 10,000 jobs last month, experiencing growth in every major employment sector.