Pence: Austerity steps needed despite big reserves

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -- The administration of Gov. Mike Pence has told state agencies to hold back 4.5 percent of their funding for the current fiscal year despite the state's $2 billion in reserves.

Pence Communications Director Christy Denault said in an email to The Associated Press on Thursday that the administration uses the spending cuts to manage potential budget shortfalls and ensure the state maintains adequate reserves. She says the $2 billion in reserves are sufficient to run the state for only 49 days and they're a key factor in the state's AAA credit rating.

Denault says public universities have been told not to spend 2 percent of their appropriations. She says their budgets grew by 5 percent last year.

The spending cuts were first reported by the Evansville Courier & Press.

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