For immediate release:
Dec. 18, 2014
INDIANAPOLIS - Indiana House Democratic Leader Scott Pelath from Michigan City today issued the following statement in response to Gov. Mike Pence’s announcement about job creation in our state this year:
“By now, most people are deservedly skeptical about these Hollywood productions designed to trumpet Indiana’s alleged economic successes.
“All this sound and blather is at the service of jobs that ‘might’ be created over the next few years. By the time those years pass, and few of these jobs become reality, the administration will have moved on to other grand announcements about more jobs that ‘might’ be created even more years down the road.
“I suppose it makes people feel good, but I don’t know if it helps at a time when Marion General Hospital is cutting 69 jobs, or Rolls-Royce in Indianapolis is cutting 200 jobs, or Union Hospital in Terre Haute is losing 150 jobs by the end of this year, or IU Health is losing 120 jobs by shutting down its proton therapy center.
“I know those job losses are happening, but those aren’t the kinds of things that cause governors to conduct grand press conferences in the rotunda of the Indiana Statehouse. Those are the dirty little realities that politicians hope people ignore, but are all too commonplace for the people whose lives are disrupted.
“And even if you choose to keep your rose-colored glasses firmly in place, even the governor cannot deny the fact that Indiana may be a place that works, but it isn’t paying its workers as much.
“According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Indiana’s average household income has dropped from $53,482 in 2002 to $46,974 in 2013.
“Hoosiers rank 39th in per capita income, earning just over 87 percent of the U.S. average. Our state has the 10th most workers at or below minimum wage.
“I can go on, but these sorry figures are not a recent trend. They have built up over the past few years, and those in power choose to do everything they can to ignore them with these dog and pony shows that come each holiday season.
“It’s easy to talk about things that could happen. It’s far more difficult to do the work of figuring out how to raise salaries and wages for our middle class. That will be how Indiana will be graded as a state that works.”