IBJOpinion

FEIGENBAUM: Here's what to expect from State of the State Address

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

On Jan. 11, Republican Gov. Mitch Daniels will deliver his State of the State Address to the Indiana General Assembly. You need to watch it with an eye toward its structure, substance and tone.

In many years, the State of the State Address serves as the practical jumping-off point for the legislative session. In such situations, or when a legislature collectively seeks gubernatorial guidance, the speech, broadcast statewide, forces lawmakers to focus on supporting an agenda—or fighting against one.

A State of the State Address can help outline priorities for a given session, and governors have used them to dramatically draw a line in the proverbial sand, directly delivering a message to the individual members and leaders of the legislative branch—and over their heads to the voters—as to what they expect, will tolerate, and hope for.

That last item, the aspirational nature of a speech, should not be underestimated. A governor’s dreams for the state typically both lead and close the speech. Indeed, such addresses are fairly formulaic.

Expect the governor to begin by affirming that our current troubles are effectively as challenging as those that many living generations of Hoosiers have ever faced. Yet Hoosiers have always met challenges with ingenuity and inspiration, and this biennium will be no different. The challenges presented by the economy should be viewed as an opportunity, you will hear, and Hoosiers have seized upon similar misfortune over the past two years to rethink and reset.

Just as Hoosiers have tightened their individual fiscal belts to meet reduced household budgets, so, too, has state government tightened the collective state purse strings, eliminating unnecessary programs and personnel, determining the essential elements of government, and ascertaining creative financial and programmatic solutions to continue the delivery of vital state services.

So the speech will open with a recitation of how well we have responded to adversity, how job creation is said to be proceeding at an unprecedented pace, and the now-familiar news that, while the state revenue stream is improving, we are still far from where we were before the recession (expect references to how we have essentially lost a five-year revenue stream, depositing us back into fiscal year 2007).

That gets the governor to the meat of the message.

The nuances you should listen for will revolve around just how ambitious a legislative agenda he proposes to tackle.

Pledging not to raise taxes in times of recession does not require him to be particularly adroit. What requires nimbleness is addressing the state’s negative $1.8 billion Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund balance, which will force the state—not employers—to start paying interest to the federal government this year. The initial interest payment is some $60 million, and employers will shoulder a per-employee surcharge while we remain in debtor status.

Listen to whether the governor offers a creative solution that will require some sacrifice from both business and labor, while not unduly burdening companies, their workers and benefit recipients. And monitor legislative reaction. You may get an early indication as to whether lawmakers will consider approval of a package as the functional equivalent of a tax hike.

Education reform likely will assume the bulk of the governor’s attention. He will expound on how higher education must cut costs, improve efficiency with cash and student time, and graduate people who will be immediate positive contributors to the needs of the new economy.

K-12 educators will be reminded he has reformed government to redirect cash toward education, and their budget will not be cut in this biennium. But he will stress the same kinds of efficiencies for teachers and administrators that have led to their considering him an enemy of public education. Of particular interest this year: whether he will specifically back vouchers.

He should ask lawmakers to restrain themselves and do what is right for Hoosiers and not themselves or political parties in redistricting, and urge reform of township government.

If he chooses to call for setting aside such emotional issues as single-sex marriage, right to work, and abortion restrictions until key fiscal measures are formulated, watch if Republicans are as negative toward the concept as Democrats are positive.

The speech will inevitably conclude with a reiteration of how we can turn lemons into lemonade—and beat our hand-wringing neighbors in creating jobs at lemonade stands.•

__________

Feigenbaum publishes Indiana Legislative Insight. His column appears weekly while the Indiana General Assembly is in session. He can be reached at edf@ingrouponline.com.


 

ADVERTISEMENT

Post a comment to this story

COMMENTS POLICY
We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
 
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
 
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
 
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
 
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
 

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
ADVERTISEMENT

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
 
Subscribe to IBJ
  1. Good Day I am Mr (Victoria Wright) from United state of America, i stayed in NEW YORK, and i have a broke up business, until i found this company email who help me to gain a loan for business,, and now i want to used this short medium to congratulate the below company for the fast and safe money they loan to me without any form of collateral, i loan 500,000USD from the company to save my business and lots more, i saw their mail on the internet, everyone always give testimony for what they did, so i quickly contacted them and they all did everything for me without stress and my money was sent to my account just 3 days later, i was surprise and i feel so glad, now i have a standard business control agent who help me, now i will advice those who need urgent loan to contact him at the bellow email:zenithfirm12@gmail.com

  2. NOTICE:This is to inform the general public that Vampires are real. My name is James Franklyn.,am an agent of vampire,am here to introduce our new world trend to you,a world of vampire where life get easier,we have made so many persons vampires and have turned them rich,you will be assured long life and prosperity,you shall be made to be very sensitive to mental alertness,stronger and also very fast,you will not be restricted to walking at night only even at the very middle of broad day light you will be made to walk.In case you are wildly oppressed by some unscrupulous persons we can still help you fight them.Your protection is assured immediately you join.Just contact the bellow email if you are interested we are here to attend to you anytime you want us. Contact the bellow email for more details. Email:vampirescreed@hotmail.com Sincerely: James Franklyn.

  3. Bravo! Someone else that is willing to speak the truth! Bravo!_____NBCSN is available in almost 2 MILLION more homes than just a few years ago, but Indycar STILL gets less total viewers than it did just a few years ago when NBC took over Versus. Attendance and ratings cratered with the end of season races (just when the title battle got "interesting" HAH!__________And now...new race in Basilia, where Miles celebrated the "rich history" of Indycar racing there. Rich history? What, 7 events in the 100 years of AOW? Yep, some history. Well, at least its an oval. It's not??? Are you kidding me??? Gosh darn road racin furriners.

  4. PURITY RAY LOAN OFFER........ Have you been denied by your banks,or are you in need of of an urgent loan to pay of your bills we are capable of giving loans @ cheaper rate to interested individuals, student, companies and members of the public in need of finance to settle bills, we do offer considerable loans which you can count on. For more information on our various types of loan,then you will have to contact PURITY RAY LOAN FIRM, to help you achieve your desire LOAN APPLICATION FORM TO BE FILLED BORROWERS INFORMATION * Full name:………………………. * SEX * ……………………………. * Country………………………….. * State:……………………………. * Land:…………………………….. * Occupation:…………………….. * phone number:…………………. * Telephone: ………………………….. * Age:………………………………. * Amount needed as loan:……… * Loan Duration:………………….. * Propose of Loan:……………….. * Annual revenue:………………… * Monthly Income:……………….. * Guarantee:………………………. * Payment: monthly or annually Email.....purityrayloanfirm@gmail.com Thank you and God bless Mr Purity Ray PURITY RAY LOAN FIRM we tend to serve you better

  5. Problem: most of the people responding to this article don't know about this service AT ALL! Why? Lack of awareness. This isn't IndyGo. This is CIRTA: might as well be the mattress company because they are asleep at the wheel - something like 3 directors over the last year? Playing with federal grant money is great! This "region" wants commuter rail service, has spent MILLIONS on Transportation studies yet can't even support a commuter bus line? This is largely for suburban riders to get to downtown - not for "service people to work in our hotels and restaurants" ! Get your head out of your backside!! These are professionals, students etc. that don't want to fight traffic, save some money on parking, gas, stress.... if CIRTA would put their federal money into widely promoting the sevive to Greenwood, Fishers & Carmel instead of finding directors and studies - this would be a successful service. Our family uses(d) it daily for the last several years - but the recent uncertainty & now unreliability due to cuts from Carmel has been a problem. Now, costs us an additional $350/month for gas & parking ( $4200/year) plus vehicle wear, service, environmental impact ... YES - this REGION needs this this type of service in order to keep growing and getting the people it needs to fill skilled positions in downtown Indianapolis. Think outside of your own car !!!

ADVERTISEMENT