On Monday, The Indianapolis Star reported on a study released by the United States Conference of Mayors describing the status of job growth, income and wage disparity across the country. The report noted that while employment has once again returned to pre-recession levels, the jobs created on average pay far less than those lost during the recession.
The result is a gap of $93 billion in lost and lowered earnings, an amount greater than in previous recessions. The impact is far more acute closer to home where Indiana ranks 40th among all states for inflation-adjusted per capita earned income. Midwestern states saw median household incomes below western and northeastern states. More distressingly, metro areas across Indiana are projected to be some of the slowest growing in terms of median household income.
The report underscores what far too many Hoosiers already know. That while the economy might be improving on Wall Street, many folks aren’t earning enough here in Indiana.
The governor and his Republican colleagues in the legislature have responded to this mounting crisis by soundly ignoring it. Instead of developing a comprehensive, common sense approach to raising incomes by launching a robust statewide early education program, raising the minimum wage and investing in infrastructure, the governor and Statehouse Republicans have put their collective weight behind tinkering with the corporate tax rate and hording a $2 billion surplus.
Their tactics have resulted in what is effectively a tax hike on everyday working Hoosiers while at the same time dishing out billions of dollars in corporate tax cuts over the next decade. Incomes are still languishing and the jobs we are attracting pay too little to raise a family.
The governor and his colleagues have said job creation is their number one priority. They’ve gone so far as to assemble experts from around the country to discuss tax policy. Unfortunately for them we can’t cut our way to higher incomes and good-paying jobs.
Hoosiers deserve a job creation strategy that balances short-term solutions like investing in local infrastructure and retraining workers with long-term policies that help educate tomorrow’s workforce and create communities that attract top employers.
It’s time to admit Republicans’ one-legged strategy isn’t working. Senate Democrats will continue to advocate a balanced approach. It’s my hope the governor and Statehouse Republicans will borrow a page out of our playbook and help make creating good-paying jobs job one.
Sen. Lanane represents Indiana Senate District 25 includes the portions of Madison and Delaware counties, including the City of Muncie and the southeastern portion of the City of Anderson. For more information on Sen. Lanane, his legislative agenda or other State Senate business call 1-800-382-9467 or visit www.IN.gov/S25 .