Gov. Mitch Daniels Answers Audience Questions
Q: I’ve lived in Indiana for 10 years and moved to our particular town because of the wonderful school system. Under Mitch Daniels, we’ve seen funding for public education at all levels reduced every year. How can he boast about being fiscally responsible, when his cuts steal from our future by denying the best possible education for our young people? – From Robyn via Facebook
A: Robyn, those are simply not the facts. Spending on K-12 is far higher than when we arrived and has gone up every year except one, when virtually every state in the country was reducing it further than we did. It is rising again this year, plus we have resumed our drive to fund full day kindergarten for every 5 year-old.
As I said on the air, 56% of every Indiana state tax dollar goes to K-12, the highest percentage in state history and the highest in America.
That said, more money has not led to better results, in Indiana or anywhere else. Since you obviously care about the academic achievement of our kids, please be a vocal supporter of the reforms we have passed this year. They are the kinds of actions that people from President Obama to me agree on.
Q: You’ve been a supporter of investing in infrastructure. What do you think of President Obama’s infrastructure plan in the “American Jobs Act?”
Q: I live in Indiana. Daniels sold off our state’s assets and told us we had a surplus of money that we can use for a rainy day. Our unemployment is higher than I’ve ever seen in my lifetime. Could you please ask him what he meant by a “rainy day?” Thank you.
– From Cheryl via Facebook
A: Rebuilding America’s infrastructure should be another goal on which people who otherwise disagree should come together. I think there is a far better route than the old-school, centrally-driven approach the President just proposed. The two keys are to welcome rather than spurn private capital as part of the solution, and to jettison as much of the ponderous and redundant federal regulatory rulebook as possible, so that projects don’t take years just to get started.
Cheryl asks indirectly about this subject. She incorrectly says we “sold off state assets.” In fact, we sold nothing, but through converting our Toll Road, which we continue to own, to a tightly regulated public utility, we harvested billions of dollars which we are reinvesting in a record infrastructure building program. None of these dollars – zero – went to our rainy day funds. Those funds, which were below empty when we arrived, have been rebuilt to a reasonable surplus. We used them during the recent downturn to avoid the huge cuts to public education, Medicaid, and other services that happened in almost every other state.
Read an Excerpt
Excerpted from “Keeping the Republic: Saving America by Trusting Americans” by Mitch Daniels by arrangement with Sentinel, a member of Penguin Group (USA), Inc., Copyright (c) Mitch Daniels, 2011: