INDIANAPOLIS, In. (WANE) — For the first time in history Governor Eric Holcomb addressed the state Tuesday night for his annual State of the State address, virtually.
Holcomb started his speech with a moment of silent for those lost to COVID-19.
Though the virus has dominated almost every aspect of life for the past year Holcomb believes that Indiana is on the right track.
“Hoosiers have risen to meet these unprecedented challenges, realizing much more work is to be done in this historic moment of opportunity,” Holcomb said. “The state of our state is resilient and growing. Our foundation has held strong.”
According to Holcomb Indiana’s strong fiscal position Indiana before the pandemic and the state’s ability to cut its budgets as the virus spread the state is better off than others.
Some of the projects Holcomb is planning for 2021 included, finishing I-69, restore many state agency budgets, restore higher education funding and increase it in each of the next two years, increase K-12 funding by $377 million, make new investments in our state parks, and Indiana State Fairgrounds, and build a new Indiana State Police lab and new Indiana National Guard armory.
Holcomb also plans to focus on the next steps of his five pillars of his Next Level Agenda:
- Cultivate a strong and diverse economy: Pass the state’s ninth straight balanced budget, expand Manufacturing Readiness Grants to enable companies to modernize their operations and triple federal defense investment in the state.
- Maintain and build the state’s infrastructure: Invest an additional $100 million to connect Hoosiers and businesses to high-speed internet. Restart the $90 million Next Level Trails program. Complete I-69 three years ahead of schedule and continue with future plans to upgrade US-30 and US-31.
- Education, training, and workforce development: Invest in all Hoosiers to ensure access to meaningful work and careers. Ensure K-12 schools receive 100% of their funding for the second half of the school year. Prioritize finding long-term, sustainable solutions to improve teacher compensation. Recruit veterans and service members who are concluding their military service to enroll in Indiana training opportunities and become public safety officers and first responders.
- Public health: Continue the “It’s Our Shot, Hoosiers” COVID-19 vaccination plan. Protect pregnant workers by providing reasonable workplace accommodations. Expand the OB navigator program to 25 additional counties this year.
- Deliver great government service: Increase telehealth services. Provide businesses and schools with coronavirus liability protections. Outfit Indiana State Police officers with body cameras. Launch a Diversity Data Dashboard. Complete and share the outside review of the state’s law enforcement academy and agencies. Plant one million trees throughout the state.