INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana’s Governor Eric Holcomb announced his 2023 Next Level Agenda. His plan is to focus on bringing major changes and improvements to education, public health, and drawing in more economic growth to the state.
“By making lasting investments in our health, education and workforce we are building a stronger tomorrow for all Hoosiers,” Gov. Holcomb said. “First and foremost, we will protect our fiscal strength of Indiana by adopting our 10th straight honestly balanced budget which allows us to strategically prioritize public health, education, workforce, as well as economic and community development to elevate Indiana to the Next Level and provide citizens and their families the tools they need to not just survive but thrive for generations to come.”
For Holcomb’s education plans, he wants to increase tuition support in schools by 6% for next year, 2024. The push would increase the average yearly salary for teachers to $60,000. And a major goal of Governor Holcomb’s is to remove textbook fees in the state.
As Indiana is only one of seven states in the U.S. that still allows textbook fees, Holcomb says his plan is to prohibit them and fully fund the cost for all traditional K-12 public and charter schools.
To keep making books more accessible, there will be a push to bring Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library statewide. It’s a program to provide books monthly to children from birth to 5-years-old.
For higher education, Holcomb wants to push towards making Indiana a state where college graduates stay and find jobs rather than leave for neighboring states.
“We’re really good at attracting students from all over the world to come here,” Holcomb said in a conference, “We want to make sure that they’re discovering their next adventure right here in Indiana and not somewhere else.”
The agenda will invest millions of dollars towards the Department of Workforce Development to increase worker training and education programs.
Holcomb will submit a budget request for 2024 for $120 million to standardizing public health services in all 92 counties. But the governor also focused on mental health concerns. The plan is to expand crisis teams, grow 988 Crisis and Suicide Lifeline services, and investing over $4 million specifically to combat suicide among veteran and service men and women.
This year, a new Treatment Finder Program will start with the goal to help Hoosiers find addiction treatment. A plan is put in place to properly use the $500 million that Indiana is expected to receive from the national opioid settlement.
Governor Holcomb plans to increase the starting salary for state police troopers to $70,000. For firefighters, he will commit around $34 million to training programs and equipment for Indiana’s firefighters.
Overall, Governor Holcomb highlighted the need to maintain and improve Indiana’s social infrastructure to stay competitive with the rest of the Midwest, and to make Indiana the national manufacturing location.
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