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The Indiana Daily Student

city politics

Gov. Eric Holcomb shares Indiana’s achievements and goals in 2024 State of the State address

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Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb delivered his eighth annual State of the State Address to members of the General Assembly Jan. 9, highlighting the state’s accomplishments and promoting his 2024 Next Level Agenda, which he unveiled Jan. 8. 

Holcomb delivered the speech one day after the start of the 2024 legislative session in Indianapolis. It was the final State of the State address for Holcomb, who cannot run for reelection next year because Indiana limits governors to serving a total of two terms, or eight years, in a twelve-year period.  

“A year ago, I promised you that I would work harder than ever to continue to improve the prospects for every person that calls Indiana home,” Holcomb said. 

The governor unveiled a $250 million grant from the Lilly Endowment on Tuesday. The grant is set to support projects by the Regional Economic Acceleration and Development Initiative – also known as READI 2.0 – such as blight reduction, redevelopment and arts and culture initiatives. The grant comes as a second round of funding in the READI program’s $500 million distribution.  

Holcomb spoke about what he refers to as the “The Indiana Model,” a collaborative effort across the public, private and philanthropic sectors to make generational change and move the state forward. 

“The Indiana Model seeks excellence, rejecting any notion that a Midwestern ‘vowel state’ would be content with mediocrity, and instead takes giant leaps rather than baby steps,” Holcomb said.  

He pointed to several of Indiana’s recent achievements, including being ranked by the United States Department of Agriculture as a top-10 state for agriculture and the best state in America to start a business by Forbes in 2023. Indiana’s economy was a strong point, he said, with the state forming federal partnerships in clean hydrogen, micro-electronics and biotech manufacturing. Other economic highlights included the $28.7 billion in committed capital investment in 2023 and lowering personal income taxes from 3.05% to 2.9%.  

During his speech, Holcomb welcomed the Consul Generals of Japan and Israel, acknowledging the Jan. 1 earthquake in Japan and the Israel-Hamas war. 

“Consul General Yanagi, our hearts are with your people and our friends affected by the recent tragedies in Japan,” Holcomb said. “And Consul General Cohen, please know we continue to pray for the safety and security of all those living in the Holy Land, and for the prospect of lasting peace.”  

Looking toward Indiana’s future, Holcomb spotlighted health, infrastructure and education efforts.  

The Health First Indiana program, an initiative designed to strengthen and fund public health efforts, recently distributed its first $75 million of appropriations to the 86 counties that opted into the program, Holcomb said. The program was created by legislation passed in 2023, and a $150 million distribution is set to go out in the 2025 fiscal year.  

Holcomb said after decades of discussion, the Indiana Department of Transportation will finally finish construction on I-69 connecting Indianapolis to Evansville this year, double-tracking the South Shore Line between Gary and Michigan City.  

Some of the governor’s biggest goals for 2024 centered around education, aligning with a large part of his 2024 Next Level Agenda. These goals include improving third grade reading policies, making computer science courses a requirement to graduate from high school and working with public universities to create more three-year and associate degree options to make college more accessible.  

Additionally, Holcomb said he wants to bolster Indiana’s childcare workforce, update the State Disaster Relief Fund and expand awareness of job programs such as One Stop to Start.  

“I’m excited about 2024,” Holcomb said. “Convinced that it will shine a light on many other examples of how the Indiana Model is boosting economic outcomes, vaulting our infrastructure to the 21st century vanguard, and most importantly, improving lives through new opportunities.”  

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