INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Gov. Eric Holcomb delivered his first State of the State speech Tuesday night.
During the speech, the newly sworn in Republican introduced five transformational priorities aimed at taking “Indiana to the next level.”
Cultivate a strong and diverse economy to ensure that Indiana remains a magnet for jobs
Holcomb says it’s important that the state strengthens and diversifies its economy. This means trying to bring large businesses to Indiana, but also strengthening small businesses, which he considers the “heart and soul of the economy.”
Holcomb also proposed passing a balanced budget amendment.
“This sets us apart from many other states, keeps us in a good position to withstand a future economic downturn, and encourages businesses to locate and stay in Indiana.”
The Governor also wants to continue to support the Regional Cities initiative by investing $4 million more in this year’s budget.
“This will keep the planning and momentum going in other regions of the state that did not receive funding in the program’s first round.”
Fund a long-term roads and bridges plan that takes the greatest advantage of our location
Holcomb’s second pillar is centered on building a sustainable plan to fund Indiana’s roads and bridges for the next 20 years.
“For Indiana, The Crossroads of America is more than a motto. It’s a mission.”
Specifically, the Governor wants to capitalize on the state’s location by double tracking the South Shore Line. He says this will improve access for Hoosiers who travel between Northwest Indiana and Chicago.
He also wants to create incentives for more direct flights to better connect Hoosiers to national and international markets. He also wants to add a fourth water port in southeastern Indiana, which he says will help accelerate economic development.
Develop a 21st century skilled and ready workforce
Holcomb’s fourth pillar aims to provide Indiana’s future workforce with the skills, education and training they need to be successful. To achieve this, the Governor called for the state to double its investment in pre-kindergarten to $20 million annually.
He also proposed that the Superintendent of Public Instruction become a position appointed by the Governor – beginning in 2021.
Attack the drug epidemic
The fourth pillar is to attack the drug epidemic. To do this, Holcomb wants to give county officials authority to establish syringe exchange programs to ensure that the people making decisions are those closest to the problem.
The Governor’s administration also plan to limit the amount of controlled substances, prescriptions and refills, enhance penalties for those who commit pharmacy robberies, and upgrade the Indiana State Police labs to fight the drug epidemic.
Provide great government service at a great value to taxpayers
Part of Gov. Holcomb’s fifth pillar is to take care of those who protect and serve Hoosiers. That’s why he says he wants to “give a well-deserved pay raise to the Indiana State Police.”
He also wants to honor our veterans by exempting their pensions from state income tax. He hopes this will “make it easier for them to stay here and attract other Patriots to our great state in their post-military careers.”
Holcomb said most of these five pillars “will require long-term commitment and focus. Some will require new resources and new ways of doing business. But all of them must begin today.”
Watch the full speech below: