The following is some of the reaction to Governor Eric Holcomb’s State of the State reaction.
“Governor Holcomb continues to provide strong leadership and vision for our state, and we look forward to working closely with him this session as we complete the people’s work on time and under budget. He is a tremendous ambassador of Indiana’s success story, and finds ways to get big wins for Hoosiers. We are excited about the record-setting pace of our economic development efforts, and we look forward to seeing the results play out in communities across our state,” said House Speaker Brian C. Bosma (R-Indianapolis).
“Our state continues to earn the spotlight with our fiscal stability and top-ranked economic environment, which attracts businesses large and small that support families across our state. With a structurally balanced budget and healthy reserves, we are on the right track to continue funding our state’s priorities and building on our momentum. Governor Holcomb has shown great leadership, and we will continue working together to support all Hoosiers,” said House Speaker-elect Todd Huston (R-Fishers).
“In tonight’s address, Gov. Holcomb laid out a compelling vision for improving the lives of Hoosiers all across our state both now and in the future. My caucus members and I are ready to continue working with the governor and our colleagues in the House of Representatives to improve workforce development and education, eliminate government debt, and improve health care cost transparency for Hoosiers. Together I believe we are making great strides that will continue to move our state forward.” (Senate President Pro Tem Rod Bray)
“I was very disappointed that Governor Holcomb’s speech did not include a plan to specifically increase teacher pay this year. Instead, what I did hear was a $250 million pension liability relief proposal for 2021 that could possibly lead to an increase in teacher pay at some point. After years of inaction on this issue, I find Governor Holcomb’s proposal underwhelming. We have the money to give teachers the pay raise they deserve now. Just last week, House Republicans voted down a proposal that House Democrats offered, which would have given teachers a one-time bonus with a plan to address the teacher pay issue in the 2021 budget. We also offered other proposals that would take the $300 million budget surplus and invest it in the people of our state by increasing funding for pre-K, decreasing the cost of prescription drugs and driving more dollars toward school safety. House Democrats are offering a plan to serve Hoosiers first, and serve Hoosiers now. It’s past time that Indiana invests in our human capital so we can move our economy forward.” (Indiana House Democratic Leader Phil GiaQuinta)
“I am glad the governor finally decided to listen to the voices of over 15,000 teachers who advocated at the Statehouse for increased pay and other items on Organization Day in November. I am also happy he took a page from the Senate Democrats’ own playbook for the mechanism to raise teacher salaries. While I am glad that these two things happened, I am disappointed that he has doubled down on his commitment to make teachers wait yet another year before seeing substantial pay raises. His plan also does not free up as much money in the teacher pension fund as Senator Tallian’s plan does. Her bill can still get a hearing this year and start getting teachers more money, faster.” (Indiana Senate Democratic Leader Tim Lanane)
“Hoosiers deserved to hear big, bold ideas tonight from Governor Holcomb in his State of the State address. Hoosiers have deserved that from a governor who’s been in a position to take action for three years now. Instead, we got more of the same incrementalism. While Governor Holcomb has finally come to see that Hoosier teachers aren’t paid anywhere near what they deserve and that our communities need, he still is offering only half measures and a ‘wait until next year’ approach for real action. I launched my campaign for governor with a plan to raise teacher pay to a minimum of $50,000 for every Hoosier teacher and to create a Public Education Endowment – investing an additional $300 million every year in public education, without raising taxes – so we can support our public schools and communities across the state. And in conversations across the state with thousands of Hoosiers, fully funding public education is the number one issue I am asked about. Governor Holcomb has a history of making promises under pressure in his State of the State address, only to underdeliver. Just last year he promised a comprehensive hate crimes bill that would protect all Hoosiers, including all LGBTQ Hoosiers. He didn’t do it. He also promised a massive investment in public schools last year, but delivered far less than expected or needed, leaving many school districts across the state to increase taxes via referendum to provide for their students, teachers, and community. We need bolder and more inclusive leadership in Indiana. That is why I am running for governor this year, to finally get the job done right in our state for every Hoosier.” (Josh Owens, Democratic candidate for Governor)
“The state of our state presented tonight was a lot rosier than the one I’ve heard about from Hoosiers who struggle to make a living wage, access affordable health care and ensure their children receive a quality education. It took thousands of teachers rallying at the Statehouse saying, “Enough is enough” for the Governor to acknowledge that Indiana has failed our teachers and students. When adjusted for inflation, average Indiana teacher salaries have dropped 15 percent since 2000 and a third of new Indiana teachers leave their jobs within five years. One proud Hoosier teacher I met had to make the difficult decision to leave Indiana to teach in Kentucky so that she and her family could make a decent wage. As a state, we must do more this year to show these educated and well-trained professionals how much we value their contributions. When it comes to ILEARN scores, the Governor’s plan to hold schools harmless doesn’t go far enough. His approach doesn’t address major issues in the state’s school accountability system. It is time to act to restructure the system and find long-term solutions. Teachers are not the only ones struggling in our state. Like teachers, too many of our lower-income Hoosiers are forced to work multiple jobs to make ends meet. We’re also seeing mass layoffs in cities like Jeffersonville, where 260 people are losing their jobs. The state must do more to ensure Hoosiers can make a living wage and stand ready to help those displaced from their careers. As a physician, I agree that we must reduce distracted driving and raise the age to buy tobacco and e-cigarette products from 18 to 21. But, there is more we can do to make smoking less attractive to younger Hoosiers. That’s why I also support an increase in the Indiana cigarette tax to discourage teens from picking up the habit and encourage older Hoosiers to give it up. There are real problems in our state and the Hoosiers I talk to say it is beyond time for real leadership.” (Dr. Woody Myers, Democratic candidate for Governor)
“We are pleased that the Governor and legislative leaders are set to pass the long-needed smoking age increase. There is much more the state can – and must – do to reduce smoking and vaping rates, and cut down on the high costs for Indiana companies and their employees. Tax increases on the products and eliminating teen-friendly vape flavors would be among the important next steps.” (Kevin Brinegar, Indiana State Chamber of Commerce)
“Governor Eric Holcomb set forth a strong vision tonight for a healthier Indiana, better transparency for healthcare consumers, and establishing key measures like protecting patients from surprise medical bills. His proposals will put Indiana on a path to lower costs for Hoosiers and better physical and mental health outcomes.” (Brian Tabor, Indiana Hospital Association)
“While I appreciate the Governor including the teacher compensation crisis in the State of the State Address, I am disappointed Indiana continues to delay necessary action. Insufficient school funding resulting in inadequate teacher compensation impacts 1.1 million students, 78,000 Hoosier educators, and the future of our great state. Students cannot afford to lose more great educators while Indiana decides if we can afford them.” (Jennifer McCormick, Superintendent of Public Instruction)
“Bottomline, pay raises for hardworking educators are more than a year away, if ever. That’s not taking action, it’s taking a back seat. If you’re a teacher working two jobs, a pay raise in 18 months — at best — isn’t exactly a light at the end of the tunnel. Hoosier families stuck choosing between pricey prescription drugs and putting food on the table won’t see any relief. For a state that’s 48th in quality of life, Hoosiers deserved to hear a lot more from their do-nothing governor on improving that condition.” (John Zody, Indiana Democratic Party)
“In tonight’s State of the State Address, Governor Holcomb touted the ‘cleanest air and water’ since the 1970s. The real measure is whether Indiana is ensuring that the environment is safe for all: On air, likely not safe if you live close to, and downwind of, a factory farm, coal mine, highway intersection, or outdoor wood boiler. On water, likely not safe if your private drinking water well is exposed to agrochemicals, coal ash, or nitrates. HEC has been offering solutions on each of these fronts, and we very much welcome working with the Governor and lawmakers to solve these challenges. We need to muster the political will to put the public interest first – always.” (Jesse Kharbanda, Executive Director of the Hoosier Environmental Council)
This post will be updated.