By Rachel Hoffmeyer
INDIANAPOLIS — Republican candidate for governor Eric Holcomb announced his economic agenda Tuesday but offered few new ideas and little information about how he would fund it.
Holcomb’s proposal includes building a fourth port on the Ohio River, a $1 billion innovation and entrepreneurship plan, and growing the Regional Cities Initiative — all ideas from Gov. Mike Pence’s policies. The plan also includes building a fourth bridge to Kentucky and finishing I-69 from Bloomington to Indianapolis.
Holcomb said he’s taking the economic strategy to the next level.
“All of this is my plan. Some of this may have been started on my predecessor or his predecessor’s watch, but we’re going to complete I-69. I was talking about I-69 since 1998,” Holcomb said.
The campaign, however, did not share details on how Holcomb would pay for these projects. Instead, Holcomb said he expected to see the private sector partner with the state on some of these ideas and that he intended to work with the General Assembly when it reconvenes in January.
When asked if it’s fair to ask voters to support him without giving funding specifics, Holcomb said he didn’t want to “start writing checks that I can’t cash.”
“I think it’s fair to say, ‘These are my goals. Now let’s go get them done,’” he said.
It’s unlikely the money would come from the state’s reserves, which he wants to keep. Holcomb also called passing a balanced budget priority number one. He said both the reserves and a balanced budget leads to a competitive and healthy economy for the state.
Also not addressed in the economic agenda was how to handle the debate surrounding LGBT rights. Hoosiers are saying it’s time to move on, according to Holcomb.
“I can tell you the businesses that I’m dealing with are not talking about this,” he said.
Holcomb stated he’s not interested in spending time on an issue where there’s unlikely to be any type of progress, pointing to the lack of consensus in the General Assembly.
The Democratic candidate for governor, John Gregg, unveiled his economic plan in June. His campaign spokesman, Jeff Harris, criticized Holcomb’s proposals.
“It’s not so much a plan as it is a bunch of talking points slapped together without any detail, thought or way to pay for them,” Harris said in a statement. “In contrast John Gregg has a detailed 35-point plan that’s been praised by business leaders across the state.”
Rachel Hoffmeyer is the executive editor of TheStatehouseFile.com, a news website powered by Franklin College journalism students.