Reaction is mixed to Governor Eric Holcomb’s State of the State Address

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Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb outlines his goals for a special session of the legislature as Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch looks on during a press conference in Indianapolis, Monday, March 19, 2018. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

There has been a lot of reaction to Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb’s 3rd State of the State address.

Indiana Republican Party Chairman Kyle Hupfer released the following statement:

“Governor Eric Holcomb demonstrated strong and consistent leadership in his third State of the State Address. He proved yet again that he is armed and ready to tackle the issues facing Indiana with ideas that will deliver measurable and positive results for all Hoosiers.

“Through his series of Next Level initiatives, Governor Holcomb is providing Hoosiers with innovative solutions to our state’s biggest challenges – from teacher pay to workforce development, and from infrastructure funding to attacking the drug epidemic. And, even as we address these issues with new dollars and fresh ideas, Governor Holcomb is committed to preserving Indiana’s status as the fiscal envy of the nation by protecting our AAA credit rating and maintaining reserves at an impressive 11 percent.

“In keeping with his goal to take Indiana to the Next Level, his plan announced tonight to allocate dollars from our state’s healthy reserve fund to pay down teacher pension debt will free up those dollars to be used in increasing compensation for those who prepare our next generation for the years ahead. On that same important topic, he reconfirmed his commitment to the issue with the formation of the Next Level Pay Commission, which under the leadership of Michael L. Smith will help improve teacher pay in the present and in the future. Teachers in every Hoosier community should know this: Governor Holcomb stands with them and is fighting for them every day.

“There’s a reason why Governor Holcomb’s approval rating stands at 65 percent. He is delivering on behalf of Hoosiers in every corner of the state and tonight he did it again.”

Senate Democratic Leader Tim Lanane and House Democratic Leader Phil GiaQuinta  provided their response:

“I am sorely disappointed in the governor’s refusal to provide schools with enough money to pay their teachers a decent wage. Indiana’s teachers make less than all of our neighboring states. The Senate Democrats have a proposal that would provide teachers a five percent raise over the next two years.

“I am glad that the governor agrees that all Hoosiers should be protected under a hate crimes law, including transgender individuals. I call on the governor to get his supermajority in line to also support this imperative language. Without protecting all Hoosiers, we cannot faithfully join ourselves with the other 45 states who have this kind of protection on the books.”

“I do not understand the governor’s staunch opposition to legalizing medical marijuana when 73 percent of Hoosiers support this legislation. Veterans and sick Hoosiers across the state could benefit from this treatment option that Americans in 33 other states and D.C. have access to.

“Finally the governor has yet to address what would happen to thousands of Hoosiers if changes made in D.C. would kick those with pre-existing conditions off affordable health insurance. I call on the governor and Republicans in the legislature to support the Senate Democrats bill that would require insurance companies in Indiana to cover pre-existing conditions at no additional cost. The governor needs to be a leader on this because Indiana’s own Attorney General is part of a lawsuit trying to take this coverage away from Hoosiers.

“Senate Democrats have a lot of good bills on the docket for 2019 that would transform the lives of Hoosiers for the better. I hope the governor and my colleagues understand what’s at stake if some of these bills don’t pass this session. I’m ready to get to work to make sure all Hoosiers are paid a living wage, are protected against violence rooted in discrimination, have access to all possible medical treatment options and can afford to have health insurance.”

Indiana Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Kevin Brinegar issued the following statement:

“We’re encouraged – as many Hoosiers are* – by the continued forward-looking approach taken by Gov. Holcomb and his administration. Investments to grow and attract Indiana’s current and future workers are required to allow our state to achieve at the highest levels.

“An unfortunate omission, however, is the absence of support for improving the health of our citizens by embracing the agenda to reduce smoking (Indiana now ranks 44th among the 50 states in its percentage of smokers). Hoosiers strongly back a cigarette tax hike and increasing the smoking age to 21, as well as addressing the growing vaping crisis among teens.

“In regard to the bias crimes issue, we are pleased to see the Governor continue to emphasize its importance. It is imperative this year to find a way to remove Indiana from the short list of states without a bias crimes law.”

 

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