Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb began his speech by saying there has never been a more opportune time to realize the state’s potential than right now. He went on to detail what his administration is doing for the economy, people, and communities.
First, the governor spoke about the state’s fiscal condition and said Indiana has had nine straight balanced budgets since 2005, reduced its debt by 24 percent, maintained a Triple A credit rating, and recorded record revenues and reserves. Concerning the economy, he said the state has its lowest unemployment rate in 21 years, led the region in GDP growth, experienced consistent population growth, and has seen wage growth and the expansion of businesses. The governor said one of the state’s most pressing challenges is ensuring there are enough qualified workers to fill current job openings.
One way the governor is working on filling job openings is through education. He noted the state has made record contributions to K-12 education, invested more in early education, taken steps to address learning loss, seen an increase in teacher salaries, and is working to make school performance data more readily available. The governor also discussed recent steps taken to align the state’s K-12, higher education, workforce, and economic development efforts. Turning to healthcare, the governor said the state must increase its efforts to reach more people with substance use disorders, promote a comprehensive strategy to support mental health, continue to reduce infant mortality, and begin examining ways to modernize and strengthen the state’s public health system overall.
The governor then spoke of steps Indiana has taken to invest in communities. He highlighted infrastructure efforts including deploying $60 billion over 20 years to expand and enhance roads and bridges, partnering with the federal government and local partners on commuter rail projects, investing $150 million for trail improvements, increasing broadband, and committing $420 million towards to wastewater, drinking water, and stormwater projects. Looking forward, the governor said more funding will be needed in 2023 to help communities throughout the state accelerate their economic growth and improve quality of life.
Finally, the governor closed his address by thanking people for their help in welcoming Afghanistan refugees, continuing to get vaccinated and boosted, and for their efforts in battling against COVID-19.