Hoosiers did what Hoosiers do. We tightened our belts at home, at work and at the Statehouse during this tough recession. As a result, we are now recognized nationally as the third fastest growing economy in the nation (http://www.bea.gov/newsreleases/regional/gdp_state/gsp_newsrelease.htm), Indiana's unemployment is a percent below the national average and lower than all of the states surrounding us, and Hoosier businesses are poised for growth.
The saying "Common sense isn't common" describes us well. As the what-seemed-to-be constant newsreel of bad news hit us in 2008: unsustainable credit card debt and subprime loans, bank and insurance failures, market losses, and global credit crisis leading to a global recession, Hoosiers did what Hoosiers do. We slowed our personal spending and paid down our own debt and many local companies reduced hours rather than laying off employees. Governor Daniels, even with a rainy day fund in place, reduced the state spending approved in the 2009 budget. Then, our Indiana Economic Development Corporation went on the offensive encouraging companies that were looking to relocate, to make Indiana their home. What a great "when life gives you lemons, make lemonade" type of strategy.
In 2011, we passed a budget that still lives within our means and rebuilds the rainy day fund and, as a result, Indiana's balance sheet is the envy of almost every state in the nation. Further, we passed a solution for the Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund that ensures that we pay back the debt that we owe to the federal government, but also ensures unemployment payments are being provided to those who are in need in a fair manner. Finally, we passed legislation that will reduce corporate income taxes by 2 percent over four years which will take away one of the last barriers to job attraction as Indiana corporate taxes were among the highest in the nation.
I don't want to suggest any of this was easy. Most state agencies are at their leanest point in several decades and have learned to do much more with less. Hoosier families have gone without new homes, new cars, vacations, and some have had to learn to survive for a period on a single income, reduced incomes, or unemployment checks. It has been a humbling and difficult experience for many.
However, Indiana's economy could be compared to a long marathon. First, we trained well ensuring adequate energy (reserves) for the long run. Then, during the recession we climbed a very tall hill that has begun to level off. Further, good decisions have put a growing wind to our back pushing us along as we go forward.
We still hear those who believe a double dip recession could be on the horizon. However, I believe Hoosiers and our state leaders have proven we are smart, determined, caring and disciplined. Let's pray our nation and our state's economy continue to improve. But, like Hoosiers, let's maintain our conservative flair as we pick up steam moving forward.
Have a great week and blessings to you and your family!
Rep. Sue Ellspermann (R-Ferdinand)