Back Home in Indiana…

If our legislature paid half as much attention to job creation and economic realities as it does to time zones, same-sex marriage and teaching cursive, Indiana’s economy might actually improve, and state agencies might not have to lie about their performance.

If our lawmakers took an honest look at the results of ideologically-driven measures like tax reductions, constitutionalizing the tax caps and “right to work” legislation–we might  encourage the kinds of economic activity that would work for everyone.

Honest to goodness.

Instead, Indiana continues to underperform on a wide range of measures. In a recent column, Morton Marcus highlighted one of those– a significant increase in the gap between the average weekly earnings of a Hoosier worker and that of the average American worker– and he asked a pertinent (and impertinent) question:

 In Dec.’07 that gap was $20.74; by Dec.’13 the gap between Indiana and the nation grew to $58.99 per week. Is this the economic progress our elected legislative and executive leaders travel the world to advance? Is this consistent with those boastful press releases we read about how well Indiana is doing because of our low business taxes and slack regulation?

Elsewhere in the country, it is dawning on elected officials that it is quality of life, not tax rates, that drives relocation decisions. A state that boasts of its “slack regulation” is advertising its resemblance to West Virginia, where  drinking the water has gotten hazardous.  A state touting its low taxes is communicating where its priorities lie; increasingly, when businesses being courted are told “we have low taxes,” they hear “we have substandard education, poorly-maintained roads and parks, and not enough police officers to protect you.” And they’re right.

Amazing as it may seem, people smart enough to run a successful business are smart enough to know that states, like people,  get what we pay for. And back home in Indiana, we aren’t willing to pay for much of anything.

Honest to goodness, Indiana.


  1. We LOVE to lock up pot smokers because the Republicans are in the pocket of the Prison Industrial Complex. They help WRITE some of the stupid laws that keep their pockets lined. Lives ruined. Families destroyed. But never mind….the Prison Republicans are getting RICH. YAY. And that is what Indiana politics is all about.
    Not people. Money. Money for the rich white Republicans that is.
    And Balls. Lots and Lots of Balls. God but we love playing with balls. Take the money from your kids school and fund the Thugs that play with balls. YAY for Indiana.
    Before I retired, I had people come into my office to apply for work. They could not read and write well enough to work for me. They KNEW they had no chance but God love them they had the currage to try. Sad products of the Cheapest Education we can get. Poor Men. I wonder what ever became of them. So Sad.

  2. To me ending DST (Daniels Stupid Time) trumps them all. No job is any good if you can’t get there at the proper time, which is why I do not EVER change my clocks! The rest of your points are good too, but Sheila we ALL have our “causes” and mine is returning to Indiana Time, even above gay marriage rights. Sorry to disappoint!

  3. There is Indiana Time, and then there is Indiana Time. If you live in Northwest Indiana, 10 minutes from Chicago, there is Indiana Time. And if you live in Evansville, next to Illinois and Kentucky, that is Indiana Time. And if you live in Indianapolis, that is also Indiana Time. Three different places with three different politico-geographical problems in which people need to get to work on time. If we simply move Indiana to where it belongs, in the south, and move Kentucky to where it is in the process of going, in the north, that might work out a little better.

  4. Daylight Savings Time was initially advertised as a mechanism to put Indiana all on the same time.
    Since businesses would then know what time it was in Indiana, it would create jobs and markets for Hoosiers. For years afterward, Indiana’s unemployment rate continued about the nation’s.

    Multiple tax cuts and caps and transfers of business taxes to homeowners as well as right to
    work (for less) legislation and ‘slack regulation’ were all supposed to enrich Indiana with jobs as well. But universities like Purdue see a majority of their graduates leaving Indiana within 5 years after graduation because Hoosier businesses are not hiring them. How much poorer does our state have to become before we learn that to earn dividends, we have to invest?

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