State of the State: Indiana

By January 21, 2010Around the States, Energy

Gov. Mitch Daniels of Indiana delivered his State of the State address on Tuesday, and we’ll declare him the winner of the Wonkiest SOS of 2010. No other governor dares a line like, “Having as many as 22 different assessors setting property values in a single county was a formula for unfairness, waste and, all too often, corruption.  Moving assessment to a single, accountable county official was a matter of simple common sense.” 

Right on!

Yet of course it was a serious speech given in serious times of economic stress and budget cutting. And, yes, Daniels did mention “industry,” if not “manufacturing” — the terms we’ve been looking for in this month’s reviews of state of state addresses. The context was the state’s recent recruiting of electric vehicle manufacturers.

When the dust settles on this recession, we will have a higher share of America’s auto, RV and steel jobs than we did before.  In a 2009 when national business investment fell by almost one-fourth, the number of new jobs committed to Indiana actually grew over the near-record year of 2008.

2009 was the year when several young companies who may lead the electric vehicle industry chose Indiana for their plants.  Many of their suppliers are following them.  Our goal is to be the capital of this potentially massive industry of tomorrow.

And the best line we’ve seen anywhere in the context of state budget crises: “Solvency, like freedom, requires eternal vigilance.  We could be Michigan in a minute of meekness, Illinois in an instant of irresolution.”

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