INDIANAPOLIS | State employees will be paid a bonus of up to $1,000 each for their efforts in helping Indiana amass a $1.2 billion budget surplus.
Gov. Mitch Daniels authorized the one-time payment Friday to recognize employees he said have spent years doing more with less.
"There's not a state in the nation where state employees are more committed to efficiency and care with tax dollars than Indiana," Daniels said.
The "efficiency dividend payment" will be awarded based on each employee's quality assessment on his or her annual evaluation, with workers rated as "meets expectations" receiving $500, "exceeds" $750 and "outstanding" $1,000.
Daniels said about 90 percent of the 24,000 executive branch employees will receive a bonus. Indiana has 28,069 total employees
The bonus payment will cost the state approximately $20 million, but the Republican governor said that's just a fraction of the funds state employees have saved Indiana.
"I just can't tell you how proud I think every citizen should be of what this highly efficient, hardworking group of public servants has been doing the last few years and especially during the very difficult days of the last two years," Daniels said.
State Auditor Tim Berry reported Thursday that Indiana ended its 2011 budget year on June 30 with $1.2 billion in the bank.
Much of that money was returned from state agencies that left open positions unfilled and eliminated programs and services to keep Indiana in the black when state revenue cratered during the recession.
Revenue growth due to the improving economy has the state on pace to reach $1.4 billion in reserves by June 2013.