Holcomb makes best sales pitch to lawmakers for ambitious agenda in 2023 State of the State
Gov. Eric Holcomb gave his best sales pitch Tuesday as he used his State of the State address to urge lawmakers to support his ambitious, expensive agenda.
Holcomb proposes spending $5.5 billion in new funding in the budget on programs and initiatives that span education, public health and economic development.
In trying to sell that to lawmakers in his speech, he repeatedly emphasized the impact it could have. And he used some of his special guests to do so.
“Mandy Allen, a school counselor in South Vermillion School Corporation. Mandy paid about $630 this year for books for her four children," Holcomb said. "Our state's constitution promises a tuition-free education. Let's cover the full cost of curriculum fees paid for by parents so that folks like Mandy don't have to pay this dreadful bill ever again starting the next school year.”
Holcomb also spoke about an urgency to address long-building "disadvantages." Perhaps chief among those is a huge infusion of spending into the state's public health system.
"I hate to remind us, but I will: we rank 45th for smoking, 46th for obesity, 43rd for access to mental health providers and 41st for childhood immunizations, among all states – our competition," Holcomb said.
There was a new announcement – the state will award grants to help build the longest trail in Indiana, more than 60 miles of an old rail line in southern Indiana.
“Another great example of the state helping meet the demand to explore and discover – in Indiana – right in our backyards,” Holcomb said.
Holcomb is asking lawmakers for another $75 million this year for trails and land conservation.