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INDIANA

Indiana

State Recovery Act Website: http://www.in.gov/gov/INvest.htm

Indiana's state Recovery Act website scored 30 out of 100 possible points (ranking 19th) on Good Jobs First's 51-state study of state stimulus websites entitled Show Us the Stimulus. The state earned a close to average score by detailing allocations across broad program categories, describing the projects undertaken, publishing contractor names and award amounts, and highlighting the information on a centralized website with clear links. A survey of some 9,000 potential community projects is available here. Contractor information: only recipients of DOT, weatherization grants, and Neighborhood Stabilization Program grants are available; other programs have no information provided.

Indiana scored below average-30 out of 100 (ranking 35th)-on its disclosure of information specifically about highway projects funded by the Recovery Act.  There was not a separate Department of Transportation site as in many other states. The score reflects inclusion of project descriptions, contractor names and award amounts, and current data updated within the past month. Contractor information: available here.

For detailed scoring information, see the Indiana appendix of Show Us the Stimulus.

The Indiana Recovery Act site is heavy with material that promotes Gov. Mitch Daniels, including several links to his home page and a message from the governor (text or audio) that emphasizes the idea that Indiana has been careful in its budget practices and thus is not facing the same fiscal distress as other states. Casual onlookers may be confused as to whether or not it is a Recovery Act site since it is called "INvest.IN.gov" and not something involving Recovery Act or Stimulus.

Coordination & Oversight

Gov. Daniels convened a committee to ensure that all federal stimulus funds spent in Indiana are used effectively, with preference given to "opportunities that create jobs now and leave permanent assets." This group is chaired by Lieutenant Governor Becky Skillman and includes representation from the Governor's Office, the Office of Management and Budget, and the Indiana Economic Development Corporation.

Secretary of Commerce Mitch Roob was chosen by the governor to oversee the competitive grants portion of the state's stimulus program.

Policy Debates

After the Recovery Act was passed, Gov. Daniels said he wanted to concentrate the state's share of the funding on some big lasting projects that would leave Indiana economically stronger. He kept emphasizing that the stimulus is one-time money and should not be used for ongoing programs that would require state tax hikes to sustain later.

When a budget plan was later drawn up by the governor, it included various cuts for state agencies and higher education and no increases for K-12 education.  House Democrats responded with a budget that reversed many of the cuts and excluded a provision for a Casino in Gary. Senate Republicans subsequently offered a similar plan that also relied on using nearly $2 billion in stimulus funds to avoid cuts and increase education spending. Lawmakers remained split on how to resolve their budget differences at the close of the regular session, so Gov. Daniels called for a special session that began in mid-June. On June 30th, the legislature passed a budget with $1 billion dollars less in spending than the original budget proposed on April 29. Higher education and K-12 both recieved $100 million more than the original budget. Schools in high-poverty urban and rural areas with declining enrollment received less funding than in the previous budget and are said to be disproportionately harmed by the new budget.

On May 13th, the Indianapolis Star published the results of an investigation that found that stimulus transportation spending was not yet reaching some of the counties in the state with the highest unemployment rates. On July 31st, the Associated Press reported that stimulus dollars were not targeting structurally deficient bridges and instead being spent on roads in good condition that would normally not qualify for federal aid.

Last updated on: 14 October, 2009

Quick Facts

Population:
6,376,792

Median Household Income:
$47,448

Unemployment Rate:
9.9%

Poverty Rate:
12.3%

Estimated Recovery Act Funding:
$4.5 billion

Watchdog Groups

Common Cause Indiana

Resources

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