Do-nothing Holcomb and the case of the 2008 legislative session

INDIANAPOLIS – Eric Holcomb needs to dream a little bigger. Staked with super majorities and the sparkling promise of a new legislative session, the first-term governor is planning to…do absolutely nothing on teacher pay? At a sneak peak of his 2020 legislative agenda this week, Holcomb tipped just that, fingering a short, non-budget session as the culprit for his lethargy. But a short session hasn’t always been the legislative roadblock Holcomb is implying. Let’s hop in the wayback machine to 2008.

According to an Indiana legislative historian, the 2008 legislative session ushered in a litany of radical legislative (and budgetary) changes. In the 2008 legislative session, lawmakers:

  • Eliminated the school general fund property tax;
  • Restructured school funding with the state assuming 100% of the general fund;
  • Increased sales tax by $0.01;
  • Passed the property tax cap constitutional amendment

It’s not that big things like a statewide teacher pay raise can’t happen in a short session, the results of the 2008 session affirm that. It’s simply that Eric Holcomb chooses to think small. Indiana Democratic Party Chairman John Zody chastised Holcomb for that mentality.

“Leaders make policy happen, Eric Holcomb makes excuses for his inaction,” said Zody. “Why not just cancel the 2020 session if Holcomb refuses to meet the policy challenges facing our state like the slowest-growing teacher salaries in the country? At least he’d be saving taxpayers the expense of lawmakers’ pay.”

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