Creative Solutions to Make Indiana Stronger
Creative in his approach to tough problems, Governor Eric Holcomb used his third State of the State address to outline the 2019 Next Level Agenda. While reporting on many of the successes from past years, the Governor outlined some big impact proposals that will keep Indiana on a track that has seen low unemployment, strong job growth, a growing tech sector and greater connectivity to the global economy.
Some of the highlights from the speech included;
- A creative solution on the issue of how to increase teacher pay. The Governor proposed that the State use some of its financial reserves to pay down pension liabilities for local school districts, which would free up $140 million in resources. He requested that local districts devote all the new money to increasing teacher pay. This money is in addition to the $432 million increase in K12 funding that the Next Level Agenda proposes.
- Since there is no quick fix to the teacher pay issue, the Governor will establish a commission to study the issue and come up with long-term, financially sustainable solution to the problem. The goal is to make Indiana teacher pay at least competitive with our neighboring states.
- The agenda includes many items to attract and retain talent in Indiana. One idea is to exempt military pensions from state income tax. This would make Indiana a very attractive state for a group of individuals who are many times already highly skilled after their service to our country.
- Workforce Ready and the Employer Training grant programs will both be expanded, as well as updates to the states tax structure that will attract new financial investments.
- Another way to make Indiana a destination for employers and employees is to simply make it easier to get here and to connect and work with each other once they are here. The Next Level Agenda includes a plan to increase direct flights to and from Indiana, proposes a statewide network of hiking and biking trails, and in perhaps the boldest move, the Governor proposes that all Hoosiers, in every part of the state from urban to the most rural, have access to high quality broadband internet access. This kind of connectivity is essential in today’s world for students, for workers, and to attract business to Indiana.
Hate Crimes Legislation
- The Next Level Agenda calls for the enactment of hate crimes legislation. This proposal would provide the opportunity for stronger penalties for people who commit crimes, particularly violent ones, that are driven by prejudice against a targeted group of people. A hate crimes law will show everyone that Hoosiers believe in civility, dignity and treating everyone with respect they deserve.
In today’s world the work to be competitive, to attract talent and to make a quality of place and life for people never stops. The 2019 Next Level Agenda is not starting or stopping point but rather another building block that will continue the Indiana success story by empowering individuals to create and achieve their own dreams. When they do, all Hoosiers will benefit.
Find out more about the 2019 Next Level Agenda here.