Skip to comments.Gov. Daniels State of the State Address, This guy is good, he is very good!
Posted on 01/11/2011 6:59:23 PM PST by pm58590
GOV. MITCHELL E. DANIELS, JR.
2011 STATE OF THE STATE ADDRESS
JANUARY 11, 2011
Mr. Speaker, members of the Assembly, Hoosier friends and neighbors, thank you yet again for the privilege of this platform.
For most of us, one of the strongest memories of our youth is that great school teacher, that magical man or woman who somehow reached us, and stretched us, and in the process left indelible recollections. For me, one of those was Bob Watsonstill, today, Mr. Watson to mewho introduced us to the mysteries of the periodic table in high school chemistry. In addition to mixing potions that suddenly turned purple, and terrifying pop quizzes, Mr. Watson was famous for his aphorisms, little sayings so often repeated that his students still smile and recite them to each other decades later. And the most frequently applied of all Watsons wisdoms was: Good things come to those who wait. Patience is the essence of life.
Patience does not come easily to a teenager. Or to adults, for that matter. At the grocery store, the airport scanner, or the BMV, none of us likes to wait. Like all Americans, Hoosiers are waiting tonight for a national economic recovery. Far too many are without work and, even worse than their number, is how long many have been waiting, waiting for that next job, waiting for the basic human fulfillment of knowing you are standing on your own feet, providing for yourself and your family.
The deep frustration of unemployed Hoosiers is shared by those of us charged with public duties in these times. The best efforts of our state, or any one state, to break free of recessions suffocating clutch, are never adequate, and we can't wait for better times.
Building one of the best job climates in the country isnt enough. Breaking the all-time record for new job commitments isn't enough. Adding new jobs at twice the national average isnt enough. We did all those things in 2010, but it couldnt offset the terrible drag of a national economic ebb tide that continues to leave too many boats stuck in the muck.
We Hoosiers don't like to wait, when we can act. If we cannot overcome a nationwide job hemorrhage, we can fight back better than others. Again in 2010, we broke all records for road building and bridge building, for the fourth year in a row, and put thousands to work doing so.
As the final installment of our 2008 property tax cuts took effect, hard-pressed Hoosier home and business owners found an additional $600 million still in their bank accounts. Tonight, because of our action, Indianas property taxes are the lowest anywhere in America. And thanks to a ringing 72 percent verdict by our fellow citizens, who voted in referendum to protect those cuts in our constitution, theyre going to stay that way.
And in the clearest example of Hoosier resolve, we handled a two billion dollar drop in state revenues as any family would, as any small business would. We decided what is most important, separated the must dos from the nice to dos, and matched spending to income.
Across the country, state spending, despite the recession, is still up sharply the last six years. But here, it is virtually flat, one-third the rate of inflation. Elsewhere, state government payrolls have grown, but here, we have the nation's fewest state employees per capita, fewer than we did in 1978. During this terrible recession, at least 35 states raised taxes, but Indiana cut them. Since '04, the other 49 states added to their debt, by 40 percent; we paid ours down, by 40 percent. Many states exhausted any reserves they may have had, and plunged into the red, but our savings account remains strong, and our credit AAA.
What we did in 2008, and 2009, and 2010, we will do again this year. We will take the actions necessary to limit state spending to the funds available. We will protect struggling taxpayers against the additional burden of higher taxes. We will continue improving our jobs climate by holding the line on taxes as our competitors take the easy way and let theirs rise. We say tonight, whatever course others may choose, here in Indiana we live within our means, we put the private sector ahead of government, the taxpayer ahead of everyone, and we will stay in the black, whatever it takes.
In two days, I will send to this Assembly a proposed budget for the next biennium. As always, I know that our final product will be a mutual one, and I welcome your amendments and improvements, so long as they live up to the following principles:
One, I just mentioned; no tax increases. Can I get an amen to that?
Two, we must stay in the black at all times, with positive reserves at a prudent level throughout the time period.
Three, the budget must come into structural balance, meaning that no later than its second year, annual revenues must exceed annual spending, with no need for any use of our savings account.
Four, no gimmicks. We put an end to practices like raiding teacher pension funds, and shifting state deficits to our schools and universities by making them wait until the state had the cash to pay them. Thats a form of waiting we should never impose again.
And, to hasten the return of an even stronger fiscal position, I again ask you to vote for lasting spending discipline by enacting an automatic taxpayer refund. When the day comes again when state reserves exceed 10 percent of annual needs, it will be time to stop collecting taxes and leave them with the people they belong to. Remember what the Hoosier philosopher said: It's tainted money. Taint yours, and taint mine. Beyond some point, it is far better to leave dollars in the pockets of those who earned them than to let them burn a hole, as they always do, in the pockets of government.
Doing the peoples business while living within the peoples means is our fundamental duty in public service. Redrawing our legislative lines without gerrymandering, and adjusting an out of balance Unemployment Insurance system, are other examples of duties we must meet this year. I know you'll do so, head on.
So we had a little election last November. It changed a few things, like the seating arrangement in this chamber. One thing it didnt change at all: our common duty to take every action possible to make this a better state, a more progressive state, a standout and special and distinctive state. That election, like all elections, was not a victory for one side, it was an instruction to us all. It was not an endorsement of a political party, it was an assignment to everyone present. By itself, it accomplished nothing, but it threw open the door to great accomplishment. Starting tonight, we must step through that door, together.
One opportunity lies in reform of our criminal justice system. Helped by the nation's most respected experts, a bipartisan task force of police, judges, prosecutors, and others fashioned a package of changes to see that lawbreakers are incarcerated in a smarter way, one that matches their place of punishment to their true danger to society. We can be tougher on the worst offenders, and protect Hoosiers more securely, while saving a billion dollars the next few years. Let's seize this opportunity, without waiting.
Two years ago, the bipartisan commission led by two of Indianas most admired leaders presented to us a blueprint to bring Indiana local government out of the pioneer days in which it was created and into the modern age. Of their 27 proposals, seven have been enacted in some form. That leaves a lot of work to do. Indiana is waiting.
Some of the changes are so obvious that our failure to make them is a daily embarrassment. The conflict of interest when double-dipping government workers simultaneously sit on city or county councils, interrogating their own supervisors and deciding their own salaries, must end. The same goes for the nepotism that leads to one in four township employees sharing a last name with the politician who hired them.
Township government, which does not exist in most states, made some sense on the Indiana frontier. Many township lines were laid out to accommodate the round-trip distance a horse could travel in a day. Weve come a little ways since then.
Today, over 4,000 politicians, few of them known to the voters they represent, run over a thousand different township governments. They are sitting on hundreds of millions of dollars in reserves. Some have eight years of spending needs stashed in the bank, yet they keep collecting taxes. Some townships are awash in money, while the township next door does not have enough to provide poor relief to its needy citizens. Adjacent townships each buy expensive new fire trucks when one would suffice to cover them both.
Those serving in township government are good people, and well motivated. We thank them for their service. Our problem lies not with those holding all these offices, but with the antique system that keeps them there. I support the clear and simple recommendation of the Kernan-Shepard Commission that we remove this venerable but obsolete layer of government, and assign what little remains of its duty to elected city and county officials.
Likewise, our strange arrangement of a three-headed county executive should change. No business has three CEOs; no football team has three head coaches; no military unit would think of having three coequal commanding officers. We should join the rest of America in moving to a single, elected county commissioner, working with a strengthened legislative branch, the County Council, to make decision making accountable and implementation swift and efficient.
As in the last two sessions, I look forward to constructive cooperation with the Assembly in bringing reform about. The only outcome that is unacceptable is no action at all. Hoosiers have waited for decades for our governmental design to catch up to society. Lets not keep them waiting any longer.
In no realm is our opportunity larger than in the critical task of educating our children. The need for major improvement, and the chance for achieving it, is so enormous tonight that opportunity rises to the level of duty.
Advocates of change in education become accustomed to being misrepresented. If you challenge the fact that forty-two cents of the education dollar are somehow spent outside the classroom, you must not respect school boards. If you wonder why doubling spending didnt produce any gains in student achievement, you must be criticizing teachers. If your heart breaks at the parade of young lives permanently handicapped by a school experience that leaves them unprepared for the world of work, you must be anti-public schools.
So lets start by affirming once again that our call for major change in our system of education, like that of President Obama, his education secretary and so many others, is rooted in a love for our schools, those who run them and those who teach in them. But it is rooted most deeply in a love for the children whose very lives and futures depend on the quality of the learning they either do or do not acquire while in our schools. Nothing matters more than that. Nothing compares to that.
Some seek change in education on economic grounds, and they are right. To win and hold a family-supporting job, our kids will need to know much more than their parents did. I have seen the future competition, every time I go abroad in search of new jobs for our state, in the young people of Japan, Korea, Taiwan, China. Let me tell youthose kids are good. They ought to be. They are in school, not 180 days a year like here, but 210, 220, 230 days a year. By the end of high school, they have benefited from two or three years more education than Hoosier students. Along the way, they have taken harder classes. It wont be easy to win jobs away from them.
Its not just tomorrows jobs that are at stake. The quality of Indiana education matters right now. When we are courting a new business, right behind taxes, the cost of energy, reasonable regulation, and transportation facilities comes schools. What kind of school will my children, and our workers children attend? is a question were always asked. Sometimes, in some places, it costs us jobs today. There is no time to wait.
In 1999, Indiana passed a law that said schools must either improve their results or be taken over by new management. The little ones who entered first grade then, full of hope and promise, are eighteen now. In the worst of our districts, half of them will not be graduating. God bless and keep them, wherever they are and whatever life now holds for them. For those children, we waited too long.
And it's not just about the most failing of our schools. The last couple years have seen some encouraging advances, after years of stagnation. But the brute facts persist: only one in three of our children can pass the national math or reading exam. We trail far behind most states and even more foreign countries on measures like excellence in math: at the recent rate of improvement, it would take twenty-one years for us to catch Slovenia, and thats if Slovenia stands still. Thats too long to wait. That's too many futures to lose.
In every discussion, someone says This is very complicated. Then someone says, These changes won't be perfect, and then you hear The devil is in the details. All true. But we can no longer let complexity be an excuse for inaction, nor imperfection the enemy of the good. When it comes to our children's future, the real devil is not in the details, he's in the delay, and 2011 is the year the delay must end.
We know what works. It starts with teacher quality. Teacher quality has been found to be twenty times more important than any other factor, including poverty, in determining which kids succeed. Class size, by comparison, is virtually meaningless. Put a great teacher in front of a large class, and you can expect good results. Put a poor teacher in front of a small class, do not expect the kids to learn. In those Asian countries I mentioned, classrooms of thirty-five students are common, and theyre beating our socks off.
We wont have done our duty here until every single Indiana youngster has a good teacher every single year. Today, 99 percent of Indiana teachers are rated effective. If that were true, 99 percent, not one-third, of our students would be passing those national tests.
Todays teachers make more money not because their students learned more but just by living longer and putting another certificate on the wall. Their jobs are protected not by any record of great teaching but simply by seniority. We have seen teachers of the year laid off, just because they werent old enough. This must change. We have waited long enough.
Teachers should have tenure, but they should earn it by proving their ability to help kids learn. Our best teachers should be paid more, much more, and ineffective teachers should be helped to improve or asked to move. Today, the outstanding teacher, the Mr. Watson whose kids are pushed and led to do their best, is treated no better than the worst teacher in the school. That is wrong; for the sake of fairness and the sake of our children, it simply has to end. We have waited long enough.
We are beginning to hold our school leaders accountable for the only thing that really matters: Did the children grow? Did the children learn? Starting this year, schools will get their own grades, in a form we can all understand: A to F. There will be no more hiding behind jargon and gibberish.
But, in this new world of accountability, it is only fair to give our school leadership full flexibility to deliver the results we now expect. Already, I have ordered our Board of Education to peel away unnecessary requirements that consume time and money without really contributing to learning. We are asking this Assembly to repeal other mandates that, whatever their good intentions, ought to be left to local control. I am a supporter of organ donation, and cancer awareness, and preventing mosquito-borne disease, but if a local superintendent or school board thinks time spent on these mandated courses interferes with the teaching of math, or English, or science, it should be their right to eliminate them from a crowded school day.
And, while unions and collective bargaining are the right of those teachers who wish to engage in them, they go too far when they dictate the color of the teachers lounge, who can monitor recess, or on what days the principal is allowed to hold a staff meeting. We must free our school leaders from all the handcuffs that reduce their ability to meet the higher expectations we now have for student achievement.
Lastly, we must begin to honor the parents of Indiana. We must trust them, and respect them enough, to decide when, where, and how their children can receive the best education, and therefore the best chance in life.
Visiting with high school seniors, I discovered one new option we should be offering. A significant fraction of our students complete, or could complete, their graduation requirements in well under twelve years. We should say to these diligent young people, and their families, if you choose to finish in eleven years instead of twelve, we will give you the money we were going to spend while you cruised through twelfth grade, as long as you spend that money on some form of further education. In this years survey of high school students, three out of four said they would like to have that option. Lets empower our kids to defray the high cost of education through their own hard work, by entrusting them with this new and innovative choice.
Another new kind of choice has come to Indiana parents the last couple years, as a byproduct of our property tax reductions. Families are now able to choose public schools outside the districts they reside in, tuition-free. Schools have begun advertising campaigns, touting their graduation rates and higher test scores. This competition is a highly positive development, as long as it is fair. I ask you to protect our families against any possibility of discrimination by requiring that any school with more applicants than room fill it through a lottery or other blind selection process.
Indiana has lagged sadly behind other states in providing the option of charter schools. We must have more of them, and they must no longer be unjustly penalized. They should receive their funding exactly when other public schools do. If they need space, and the local district owns vacant buildings it has no prospect of using, they should turn them over.
Widening parents options in these ways will enable the vast majority of children to attend the school of their choice. But one more step is necessary: For families who cannot find the right traditional public school, or the right charter public school for their child, and are not wealthy enough to move near one, justice requires that we help. We should let these families apply dollars that the state spends on their child to the non-government school of their choice.
In that gallery and outside sit the most important guests of the evening. They are children, and parents of children, who are waiting for a spot in a charter or private school. They believe their futures will be brighter if they can make that choice. Look at those faces. Will you be the one to tell the parents tough luck? Are you prepared to say to them We know better than you do? We wont tell you where to buy your groceries or where to get your tires rotated, but we will tell you, no matter what you think, your child will attend that school, and only that school. We have the money to send our children where we think best, but if you dont, well, too bad for you.
These children, and their parents, have waited long enough, for a better chance in life. And Indiana has waited long enough for the kind of educational results that a great state must achieve. I have spoken of the economic implications. But, at bottom, this is not about material matters. It is about the civil right, the human right, of every Indiana family to make decisions for its children. It's about the right of all Hoosier children to realize their full potential in life. Will you join me in saying, the waiting is over, change has come, and Indiana intends to lead it?
For us sports fans, recent times have brought a frustrating string of almosts. At 60, Tom Watson almost won the British Open. The Colts almost won the Super Bowl. Little Butler almost won a national basketball championship. Besides the disappointment of coming so close, the bad thing about almosts is knowing that you may never get that close to victory, and history, again.
This cannot be the almost General Assembly. We are on the 18th hole, in the red zone, on the final possession of a chance for historic greatness. Indiana has waited long enough for local government that fits the realities of the 21st Century. We have waited long enough for an education system known for excellence in teaching, and accountable schools that deliver the results our kids deserve. Our parents have waited long enough for the freedom to decide which school is best for their children. We cannot almost end the waiting.
One thing is certain. The rest of the world will not wait on us. Other nations, and other states, are forging ahead with the kind of reforms I have proposed here. Indiana is now a leader in business climate, fiscal integrity, transportation, property taxes, and so many other respects. Now comes the chance to lead in ways that, long term, may matter more than all of those.
Wishing wont make it so. Waiting wont make it so. But those of you in this Assembly have a priceless and unprecedented opportunity to make it so. Its more than a proposal, its an assignment. Its more than an opportunity, its a duty.
Our children are waiting. Our fellow citizens are waiting. History is waiting. Its going to be a session to remember. Youre going to do great things. I cant wait.
God bless this Assembly and this great state.
He has shown a proclivity to throw social conservatives under the bus. A speech is just a speech until its backed with actions.
The teacher’s union does not like school choice in Indiana. He spoke a lot about school choice.
Too bad he sold out control (and pricing) of the Indiana Toll Road to a foreign company. The people (and their children, and their grandchildren, and their great grandchildren) of North Indiana will pay for this stunt for the better part of a century. What a visionary!
Mitch Daniels for PRESIDENT!
He, above all, is the perfect combination of true conservatism, the ability to communicate well - with the calmness and logic that Obama of which Obama is devoid - and he’s a proven, successful executive. He has it all. He would, I believe, strongly clobber Obama.
And add Michelle Bachmann as his VP.......
A dream ticket for 12....
IMHO, of course
I didn’t like his “truce on social issues” shtick...but I’m willing to see what he has to say in the debates, etc. in the future. He’s at least better than Romney imo.
May I add that his voice did sound so Indiana Hoosier. Will the masses like the sound of a common man?
Mitch, do us a favor: Don’t run!
TOTAL RINO PUKE!
Ivy League grad, Bush’s Director of Management & Budget, Washington insider, choice of the GOP elitists - I think I will pass on Mitch.
I don’t like his social issues comments, and I consider him to have 2 strikes against him, but he is a hell of a governor and not a RINO. He is a good fiscal conservative and proved to be a great executive. Indiana is in great shape, especially compared to most other states.
You are pumping another McCain ...Mcain -light. Daniels would only be slightly better than Mittens.
...and he’s about as well known in the rest of th country as that Herb Cain guy.
He caved to the Dem assembly.
Too bad he sold out control (and pricing) of the Indiana Toll Road to a foreign company. The people (and their children, and their grandchildren, and their great grandchildren) of North Indiana will pay for this stunt for the better part of a century. What a visionary!
your comments on the lease(not sale) of the toll roads is totally ignorant of the actual facts. The state recieved BILLIONS of dollars up front, are useing them to build the Hoosier heartland corridor from Fort Wayne through Lafayette and to update many miles of existing highways that were sorely in need of maintenance.. Daniels has done more good for this state than the past 6 Democrat governors combined ( where is the money Bayh???) Check the financial condition of this state, check the level of interest in this state for potential business sites. You have to be a Democrat...northern Indiana is full of them and, as usual, they are wrong (thanks for Donelly) the pro abortion graduate of Notre Dame, a formerly Catholic university. The foreign interests cannot remove the toll road and take it home....they MUST operate it in compliance with the state or LOSE their investment in it......Kind of like the Illinois Skyway which is also leased out....if you don’t understand the situation, please don’t comment on it.
If he’s another McCain, I repent in dust and ashes and take back what I said.....never got that impression of him.......ignorance perhaps?
“your comments on the lease(not sale) of the toll roads is totally ignorant of the actual facts.”
Use of the word “Ignorant” is a standard bully tactic, but I get used to it from shills. Governor Perry tried the same stunt here regarding the sellout of our FREEWAYS, in our case - and I heard the same things - but the PEOPLE were not fooled.
“The state recieved BILLIONS of dollars up front..., are useing them to build the Hoosier heartland corridor from Fort Wayne through Lafayette and to update many miles of existing highways that were sorely in need of maintenance..”
Yea, and lotteries pay for schools too. We’ve all heard that bait-and-switch line before. The reason we (we think) killed off Governor Perry’s scheme is because the vast majority of Texans believe that tolls on a particular highway should just be used to operate that highway. In this case, you are CONDEMNING the people of North Indiana to pay, THROUGH TOLLS, for projects in all other areas of the state - while STILL PAYING THE GAS TAX - while the people on I-70 get to drive without tolls.
Also you might want to ask the people of Chicago weather it’s a good idea to cell out city assets (in their case, parking meters to the same company), to the first charlatan that comes by offering you money up front. You might be surprised by what you hear. It’s no different than a heroin fix.
“Daniels has done more good for this state than the past 6 Democrat governors combined”
Subjective comment and too early to tell. Given the fact that the FULL BRUNT of the unlimited tolling (backed by monopoly protection) will take a decade or so before it hits, I think I’ll get back with you in 15 years on this one (although hopefully a court will throw this crap out before then). But I have no doubt that Mitch can get a very well-paying job with Cintra when he retires.
“Check the financial condition of this state, check the level of interest in this state for potential business sites.”
Believe me, if we here in Texas pulled the same stunt, we’d be in the black too. Same for California and New York. The idea is to balance the budget WITHOUT condemning your people to what can only be described as indentured servitude.
“You have to be a Democrat...northern Indiana is full of them and, as usual, they are wrong (thanks for Donelly) the pro abortion graduate of Notre Dame, a formerly Catholic university.”
Yea, Perry’s guys called me that too. But I’ll tell you, when 1,000 people gathered at a DOT meeting in North Houston to OPPOSE the same stunt, I PROMISE YOU that at least some of them were Republicans. One does not have to be Democrat to be against financial slavery (i.e., selling off critical assets to private companies, and then giving them monopoly protection without regulation). I don’t mind the name calling - it always happens when people try to cover for the stupidity of an elected leader. By I do TOTALLY agree with you on Notre Dame (for what it’s worth), it’s an embarrassment to the country.
“The foreign interests cannot remove the toll road and take it home....they MUST operate it in compliance with the state or LOSE their investment in it”
Got any Terms and Conditions on how they must operate. I’ve followed Cintra for decades and watched their lawyers make minced meat out of politicians. They will NOT sign a contract with any governor unless they get their unlimited pricing and monopoly protection. It may (and usually does) take a decade or two to kick in (i.e., just about the time those same politicians are retiring)...but they ALWAYS WIN on these deals.
......Kind of like the Illinois Skyway which is also leased out....if you dont understand the situation, please dont comment on it.”
Oh, you mean the 45 cents PER MILE it costs to drive on that highway. I’m sure that the people of North Indiana will be comforted by that prospect. Yea, I know it’s a short highway. But how about the 35 cents PER MILE (US) that Cintra is charging the Canadians on Highway 407, which is a much longer highway?
But I understand. Your guy wants to be president and he cannot undue this ticking time bomb, so people must run out and try to defend it.
By the way, regarding Terms and Conditions, you might want to read this paper - written by people much more knowledgeable than us...
Bottom line - it does look like Daniels got taken by the “Non-Compete Clause”, just as I had mentioned. What a bummer.
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