Governor Holcomb just finished giving the annual State of the State address and he spoke at length about the budget priorities for his administration. There was an emergency this past year and the governor didn’t call us back into a special session to address these issues.
Through the various stimulus packages that passed through the US Congress, Billions of dollars came to Indiana. The Governor made plans for how that money was to be spent, but by the end of December, he had still not spent the full amount of funds and he had not called us back into session. Luckily for us, the most recent stimulus package included an extension of the deadline to use CARES money distributed to states.
What the governor has forgotten is that now the Legislature is back in session, and it is a budget year.
It is the job of the Legislature to go through hours of hearings, meetings and testimony from numerous stakeholders to create a budget. Then, it’s our job to decide budgetary priorities.
That is why I am surprised that the governor outlined a bunch of places where he wants to spend money. We’re glad to hear his ideas, but it’s the job of the State Legislature to enact a budget. The governor failed to mention any plan he has to work alongside the Legislature to get CARES and other stimulus money into Indiana communities.
This influx of Billions of dollars into our state gives us opportunities. But it’s legislators that have the closest ear to the ground about what will actually help every day Hoosiers. We have an opportunity to increase teacher pay, to make sure that Hoosiers who are in economic peril because of COVID can catch back up to where they were a year ago, and to effectively distribute the COVID-19 vaccine. Democrats have a policy agenda to tackle these issues, and this is the year we ought to be able to do this for the people of Indiana. I did not hear that in the governor’s speech.