Indiana House Democratic Leader Scott Pelath (D-9) believes Governor Mike Pence “truly whiffed” on his education proposals. He says Pence's budget proposal will “drain resources” from public schools. Pelath also criticized the governor's “lack of interest” in eliminating the textbook tax.

January 13, 2015

News Release

Indianapolis, Ind. — Indiana House Democratic Leader Scott Pelath from Michigan City today issued the following statement in reaction to Gov. Mike Pence's State of the State speech:

“As always, the governor is able to convey ideas in a listenable manner…unfortunately, those ideas fall short of solving the problems that ail so many in Indiana.

“Every working Hoosier must benefit from a growing economy. Tonight, we heard nothing about the deepening chasm between the richest and the rest of us. There was nothing said to pay even lip service to the deteriorating wages and salaries paid to so many. Once again, the focus is on hoping the very few will do nice things for the rest of us.

“When you don’t have anything new to say, you get forced into relying upon 'surprises' like a balanced budget amendment to the state constitution. I’m sure this important public policy decision comes as a surprise to those administrators and lawmakers who have spent so much time these past few years bragging about their fiscal discipline that we find out they cannot be trusted.

“But this parlor trick does nothing to address the core issues that face Hoosiers now, particularly in the area of education. It is here where this governor truly whiffed tonight. I go beyond his lack of interest in eliminating the textbook tax, the one tax cut that would directly benefit our middle class.

“The governor prefers to drain resources from the classrooms where most of our kids learn. Instead, a substantial chunk of his plan leaks dollars away from most of our sons and daughters. Once again, the schools that have the constitutional obligation to educate all of our children are given the short end of the stick.

“This is why House Democrats demand greater honesty in how all of our schools are funded. Many people will hear that the governor wants to provide more state support. They may not even realize tax dollars will be siphoned away from hundreds of thousands of children.

“Beyond that, early education remains only a talking point, and nothing is proposed to relieve the indentured servitude of college debt.

“Regrettably, the governor’s sunny words merely inflame the risk of this bursting into an anti-education session.

“Indiana House Democrats believe a world-class education system of lifelong learning is a worthy and achievable goal. It can be done this session, and we will make every effort toward that goal, even if our colleagues show no interest beyond their verbiage. It’s time to move beyond just okay to great.”

Source: Office of Indiana House Democratic Leader Scott Pelath

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