By Megan Powell
John Gregg, Democratic candidate for governor, and running mate Christina Hale shared their ideas for growing Indiana’s economy in a 35-point plan Monday.
“The truth is Indiana’s economy is not doing as well as it could,” said Gregg. “and it’s not doing as nearly as well as it should be or could be doing despite what Gov. Pence would have us to believe.”
Gregg said he hopes his plan shows the entrepreneurial spirit in Indiana with a strong focus in in education and jobs. Monday afternoon Gregg addressed the six main themes in his plan.
Building and Retaining a Skilled Workforce
Gregg wants to launch a statewide pre-K program. He said his administration would also work to pass a workshare program into law to secure more jobs, map existing workforce training efforts to create better coordination among service providers and target the state’s training towards high-wage, high-growth sectors of the economy.
Growing Indiana Small Business
The Hoosier state is ranked 47th in the nation for business startups, according to Gregg’s campaign. In order to stimulate small business growth, Gregg said he would eliminate the 21st Century Research and Development Fund. He would then use the $40 million from that fund to start a new venture capital matching grant and loan program.
Supporting Existing Business
In order for small business to continue to see growth, Gregg said Indiana needs to support existing small businesses while creating new ones. The plan calls for boosting the state’s trade and export assistance efforts, creating a taskforce to fight tax fraud and improving broadband access in underserved areas. He also wants to map Indiana’s water and sewer infrastructure in order to prioritize future projects.
Streamlining the State’s Economic and Training Efforts
Gregg wants to diversify the Indiana Economic Development Corporation board to include education, infrastructure and workforce experts. He also said he sees potential for new economic development opportunities in the state’s 69 airports.
The administration wants to partner with local governments to give them more flexibility. He also plans to designate a staffer within the governor’s office to work with the philanthropic community to better coordinate efforts, secure funding for state projects and develop new partnerships.
Rebuilding the State’s Reputation
Gregg said he would work to repeal Religious Freedom Restoration Act. He also wants to change the state’s civil rights code to include LGBT Hoosiers.
Gov. Mike Pence’s campaign said Gregg is late to the game with his economic plan. Marc Lotter, deputy campaign manager, said Gregg belittled Indiana’s success.
“The facts are clear,” Lotter said in a statement. “More Hoosiers are working than ever before and it is because of announcements from today and previously by companies such as: Salesforce, Amazon, General Motors, Subaru, and many more that Hoosiers will continue Indiana’s growth and success under Gov. Mike Pence.”
However, Gregg said Pence has been distracted by social issues, letting families fall behind.
“Bottom line—recess is over,” said Gregg. “It’s time to refocus state government on the nuts and bolts by blocking and tackling. The big mission of getting Indiana’s economy moving forward, Christina and I have a detailed plan to do that.”