INDIANAPOLIS – A catchy new slogan won’t paper over critical issues facing working Hoosiers. Eric Holcomb, a leader biased toward a ‘wait and see’ approach, is facing stiff headwinds on kitchen table issues. All eyes are on the governor to shake off the ‘do-nothing’ moniker and roll out an aggressive agenda that takes on critical economic, health care and education issues.
Wages and quality of life
Eager to talk about low unemployment, Governor Holcomb fails to mention anemic wage growth and a manufacturing jobs freefall. Holcomb is also talking quality of life, a curious decision since the state ranks near the bottom nationally.
Holcomb claim: Indiana’s economy is on a roll.
FACTCHECK: Hoosiers’ wages grew just 1.18% in the last decade while consumer spending spiked nearly 7 times that. The amount of income that household expenses eat up rose by 6.4%.
FACTCHECK: Indiana has lost 10,000 manufacturing jobs since January.
Holcomb claim: Holcomb also stresses the idea of “quality of place” and a need to do a better job selling that.
FACTCHECK: Indiana’s quality of life is near dead last in the country, 48th. Indiana is ranked 39th in air and water quality and 49th in pollution.
Holcomb claim: Indiana’s infrastructure is growing — roads, bridges, rail, water, broadband & more! Gov. Holcomb is leading Indiana to separate ourselves from the competition.
FACTCHECK: Indiana’s infrastructure is ranked 37th nationally. Indiana is ranked 42nd in broadband access.
Holcomb claim: Helping people grow businesses, skill-up and get great jobs.
FACTCHECK: A portion of educational attainment concerning Indiana’s workforce declined from 2007 to 2018 as the share of workers with a bachelor’s degree fell while the national average rose.
Nowhere are premiums for health insurance purchased on the Marketplace rising faster than Indiana. Coupled with the skyrocketing cost of prescription drugs, Hoosiers are getting buried by the cost of health care.
FACTCHECK: Indiana Marketplace health care premiums are set to increase by more than 14% in 2020.
FACTCHECK: From 2012 to 2017, the average annual cost of prescription drug treatment in Indiana increased 57.8%.
Punctuated by 20,000 Hoosier educators rallying at the Statehouse, Indiana is facing a public education crisis.
Holcomb claim: We spend more than 50 percent of the state budget on education.
FACTCHECK: The education funding increases passed in the 2019 budget are just slightly over inflation.
Holcomb claim: The 2019 budget included a record increase in school funding.
FACTCHECK: The state’s per-pupil funding declined about $300 or 4%, since 2009, adjusted for inflation.
Indiana Democratic Party Chairman John Zody doubted Holcomb was preparing to unveil a bold vision to help working Hoosiers get ahead.
“You don’t need a crystal ball to know that Eric Holcomb isn’t going to release a bold agenda,” said Zody. “Eric Holcomb is a do-nothing governor without a vision or playbook. That won’t change today.”