Sheila Suess Kennedy suggested [June 4] that job creation and the wages of working Hoosiers drastically trail the national average. Here are the facts:
• Indiana has the fifth-lowest cost of living in the country.
• Indiana workers earn 94 percent of what workers in the rest of the country earn when adjusted for the cost of living. We rank 18th nationally.
• The average wage this year for businesses reaching investment agreements with IEDC is $20.41. That’s well above the previous statewide average of $18.
The piece further suggests that Indiana is not adding jobs and that the policies of the Daniels administration to create one of the top business climates in the nation are not successful. No one else believes this with good factual reasons.
Indiana ranks first in the Midwest for its business climate and fifth nationally. Indiana led the nation in private sector job growth in April with 15,400 jobs. This year we continue to dramatically outpace the nation with private-sector job growth of 6 percent growth, nearly double the national average of 3.1 percent.
Finally, I must address the suggestion that Indiana is “starving public education…” Again, the facts simply do not support such a statement. From 2005-2009, and again for 2011 and 2012, Indiana increased funding for K-12 education. We now, for the first time in our state’s history, offer and fully fund full-day kindergarten. While other states are slashing education funding, Indiana leads the nation by dedicating more than 55 percent of its general fund dollars toward K-12 education.
There is always more to do and we’ll do more, but Hoosiers should be proud of the progress this state has made in the past seven years. States we once looked up to are now looking up to Indiana.
Indiana secretary of commerce; CEO, Indiana Economic Development Corp.