Governor-elect Mike Pence will be sworn in today at a ceremony just outside the Indianapolis Statehouse at 11 a.m. But until then, Mitch Daniels is the boss.
Daniels has been the best governor of the state of Indiana in my lifetime (which isn’t all that long, I know). Since he left the Office of Management and Budget to run the Hoosier state, we’ve seen more efficient government, lower taxes, and less debt than any time in the past 18 years.
Those are huge accomplishments, especially given the condition state government was in when Daniels took office. Below are some of my favorite points from a list of 100 facts about the Daniels administration, put out by the Governor’s team a few days before he leaves office:
1. Paid back over $750 million to local government and schools that were payment delays enacted by previous administrations.
7. In 2005, Indiana state government was bankrupt with a $700 million deficit. Since then we have had budgets in the black for seven years running and have achieved these balanced budgets without raising taxes. Today we have $2 billion in reserves (after the Automatic Taxpayer Refund).
13. Indiana now has the fewest state employees per capita in the country and fewer state employees than in 1976. In January of 2005 there were over 35,000 executive branch employees. Today there are approximately 28,000.
37. The average wage of Hoosiers has increased more than $2.50 per hour since 2005, from $17.03 in 2005 to $19.66 today.
48. Record setting nature conservation – over 51,000 acres protected since 2005. Some larger projects include: Goose Pond, an 8,000-acre wetland restoration in Greene County, and the Deer Creek Fish and Wildlife Area, created from nearly 2,000 acres of surplus state land in Putnam County that the DNR received in a land exchange with the Indiana National Guard.
58. InShape Indiana – Developed a health and fitness initiative aimed and helping Hoosiers become more active and combat the obesity problem facing our state.
93. Performance funding formula for higher education has been implemented and improved. Now a percentage of state tax dollars going to public universities is tied to such factors as on-time graduation of students.
You can read the full list of facts here.
If you do, you’ll see why Governor Pence has some big shoes to fill.