If you turned on your TV on Tuesday night to watch Wheel of Fortune at 7:00, you were instead transported back to high school government class.
The Indiana Constitution requires the governor to give Hoosiers an annual State of the State address. Governor Daniels' speech was both a realistic look at the present situation and an optimistic look at the future. The realistic portion is that life is difficult for many Hoosiers during these tough economic times-one in 11 workers are unemployed, one in six are on Medicaid.
The governor used an example that I thought fitting for our situation.
He said there was once a young seaman who sought a veteran mariner's advice, asking "What do I do when I find myself in a gale force wind with a dangerous reef to leeward?" To which the old sea captain replied "What you do is, you don't get yourself in that position."
Indiana may be hurting but we are not facing the gale force winds that many of our fellow citizens are facing in other states. In 49 other statehouse chambers, governors were telling their citizens about the extreme cuts and tax increases facing their states.
On top of this, they are raising taxes! Many states have also closed state parks, released prisoners, thrown people off Medicaid and virtually stopped all road construction. The governor told us that overnight the state of Iowa was protected by a total of seven state troopers. These are cuts and actions that Indiana will not have to make.
Why? Through good fiscal discipline over the past several years, Indiana has created a surplus that is now sustaining us during these tough times. We passed a responsible budget last year that tightened our spending. We are now in a competitive position to attract jobs and Indiana can come out of this recession without having to resort to a tax increase.
In fact, we will emerge as a beacon for businesses that want to relocate to a state that has lower tax rates and a strong workforce that is second to none. As businesses across the country-and across the world in some cases- re-evaluate their future, Indiana has benefited by welcoming fifty newly relocated businesses.
I was especially pleased that Gov. Daniels gave special notice to the re-opening of the Fleetwood plant in Decatur. While we take no delight in the troubles of our neighbors, Indiana is the lone state in the Midwest that is not in debt up to its borders.
The challenge is this: we must stay committed to fiscal discipline. We must do what we can to empower businesses to grow jobs. We must stay on the course and be vigilant.
Now back to Wheel of Fortune.
Keeping things in Lehman's Terms,
State Rep. Matt Lehman