INDIANAPOLIS – Governor Holcomb announced today that his 2023 Next Level Agenda will focus on four key categories including public health development, education and workforce development, stronger economic development and community development.
“By making lasting investments in our health, education and workforce we are building a stronger tomorrow for all Hoosiers,” Holcomb said. “First and foremost, we will protect our fiscal strength of Indiana by adopting our 10th straight honestly balanced budget which allows us to strategically prioritize public health, education, workforce, as well as economic and community development to elevate Indiana to the Next Level and provide citizens and their families the tools they need to not just survive but thrive for generations to come.”
Holcomb’s 2023 Next level Agenda prioritizes five key categories.
Health and Wellbeing
Holcomb commits to improving health outcomes for Hoosiers by providing necessary resources and service delivery.
He will implement the Governor’s Public Health Commission recommendations by requesting a budget of $120 million for the state fiscal year 2024 and $227 million in 2025.
This increased funding will be used to:
- Provide sustainable core public health service investments in all 92 counties
- Standardize governance, infrastructure and services to all 92 counties.
- Establish a State Health Workforce Council to help develop a framework for state health employees
- Maintain a state health office of data and analytics to integrate public health data for quality improvement and disease prevention
- Invest in emergency preparedness through EMS training and readiness and maintain a state strategic stockpile of supplies
- Promote access to child and adolescent health screenings
The 2023 Next Level Agenda will also prioritize better access to mental health services. This includes a three-pillar crisis prevention and response system that will provide Hoosiers with someone to contact, someone to respond, and a safe place for help. The state will also improve and expand the 988 Crisis and Suicide Lifeline services. In addition, the state plans on:
- Piloting four mobile crisis teams in 15 counties to ensure there is someone to respond. The number of crisis teams will continue to grow in 2023 and beyond
- Developing crisis stabilization units by awarding grants for pilot programs to ensure Hoosiers have a safe place to go to receive help
- Continuing the transition to a Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic system to increase the availability of quality mental health services and continuing to reduce wait times in the state psychiatric hospital network
- Implementing the Governor’s Challenge to Prevent Suicide among veterans and service members by investing $4.25 million over the next two years to promote veteran wellness, reduce risk, increase protection and improve effective treatment and recovery
Combating the drug epidemic will continue to remain a priority in 2023. The governor will launch the new Treatment Finder program that will connect Hoosiers battling addiction with the appropriate treatment.
The $500 million that the state will receive from the national opioid settlement in the coming years, will be used to invest and create more community substance use programs to help those suffering from addiction.
Education and Workforce
Gov. Holcomb has previously made historic investments in education and the 2023 Next Level Agenda will continue to elevate education and the workforce.
The governor plans to make more historic investments in K-12 education. He proposes the following:
- Increase tuition support by 6% in FY2024 and 2% in FY2025 equaling $1.157 billion. Gov. Holcomb will push for additional dollars to go to the classroom to continue the effort to increase average teacher salaries to at least $60,000 a year. The average teacher salary now is $56,600
- Collaborate with legislators to establish a $20 million incentive program that rewards schools and teachers that improve students’ passing rate for IREAD3. The Indiana Department of Education’s goal is that 95 percent of students in third grade demonstrate reading proficiency skills by 2027
- Secure $10 million in state funding to obtain another $10 million match from the Lilly Endowment to continue the state’s investment in literacy through the Science of Reading
- Prohibit textbook and curricular material fees for Indiana K-12 families. Indiana is one of seven states that allows families to be charged for textbooks
- Fully fund the cost of textbooks and other curriculum materials for more than 1 million students at all traditional public and charter schools and eligible students in non-public schools. Cost is approximately $160 million per year.
- Ask the General Assembly to approve legislation that directs DOE to conduct a full review of other fees that public schools charge families
- Work to ensure high-quality STEM curriculum is in every Indiana classroom
- Implement the Dolly Parton Imagination Library statewide. The program provides every child from birth to 5-years-old with one book each month. The state’s share of the program is estimated to be $4.1 million in the first two years
Holcomb intends to invest in higher education by increasing the budget by 6% in the first year and 2% in the second year. This would make the total biennial budget $184 million.
A portion of the funding will be used to retain graduating students in Indiana. Holcomb supports the Commissioner for High Education in its goal to auto-enroll eligible students in the 21st Century Scholarship Program.
The governor will request a one-time $10 million budget commitment to Martin University to support the only predominately black institution in Indiana and boost the support of more first-generation and low-income minority student graduation.
Holcomb will expand eligibility for Child Care and Development Fund vouchers and work with legislators to expand On My Way Pre K eligibility by raising the income eligibility limits from 127% to 138% of the federal poverty limit. This change will expand access to the program to about 5,000 more lower income families. The state will use federal funds through Sep. 2024 and an estimated $15 million annually following.
$25 million in federal funds will be used by The Family and Social Services Administration to develop a grant program that will encourage employer-sponsored childcare to provide more on-site options for working families.
Holcomb will focus on workforce development by providing Hoosiers with more opportunities to obtain the skills they need to prepare for the ‘jobs of tomorrow.’ His agenda proposes more investment in adult education to reduce the number of adults without a high school diploma or workforce training. He will seek to do the following:
- Invest in Department of Workforce Development (DWD) adult education training by requesting an additional $12 million over two years for education programs. This will help eliminate a waiting list of 8,000 people who are seeking more training opportunities
- Expand the evidence-based model of Excel Center programs in several cities by increasing funding by $3 million in 2024 and $11 million in 2025
- Increase funding from $1 million to $1.5 million annually for the Graduation Alliance, an online education program for adults to achieve a diploma or credential
- Support the development of a DWD Unemployment Insurance pilot program that incentivizes recipients to complete their diploma or equivalency. Estimated cost is $4.4 million annually
- Support the Workforce Ready Grant by increasing the investment to $6 million a year at DWD, $6 million a year at the Indiana Commission for Higher Education and maintaining the Employer Training Grant investment at $17 million annually
- Facilitate relocating veterans to Indiana through INVETS by doubling funding to $2 million annually
For the economic development pillar of the Next Level Agenda, Holcomb plans to build upon the record-breaking year of capturing $22.2 billion in committed capital investment by focusing on diversifying the Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC) toolkit to remain competitive for future growth. Gov. Holcomb commits to do the following:
- Formalize a $300 million per year deal closing fund and an additional $300 million per year tax credit cap to give the state the flexibility and competitive edge to attract new businesses and jobs
- Establish an ongoing revolving fund of $150 million for site acquisition efforts
- Expand the Manufacturing Readiness Grant Program by doubling the funding to $40 million over two years to support the growth of existing businesses
- Increase Indiana Destination Development Corporation’s funding by $20 million to attract visitors and retain students as they transition to the workforce
The community development pillar of the 2023 Next Level Agenda will focus on building connections and public safety.
- Holcomb seeks to better connect Hoosiers to neighbors, communities, and beyond. Holcomb will request an additional $500 million to fund another round of the Regional Economic Acceleration & Development Initiative (READI). READI is a nationally recognized innovative program that unites communities to build for their future.
- Gov. Holcomb remains committed to expanding the state’s trails system and adding to the land conservation program. He will request an additional $50 million for the Next Level Trails to continue the pursuit of becoming the most trail friendly state in America, as well as request $25 million for additional land conservation efforts.
- The state will enter its fourth round of Next Level Connection by addressing broadband service gaps. $70 million in state and federal funds remain.
- A plan is also in development in anticipation of the release of funding from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act that will continue to bring quality and affordable service to all corners of the state.
- The state will increase funding from $1 million to $2 million each year for its partnership with the state’s food bank network.
Maintaining safe communities and schools will continue to be a priority in 2023.
- The governor will work with legislators to improve school safety by increasing the Secured Safety Grant Fund to $25 million, expanding the expanding the ways schools can use the grants, and aligning policies across all public schools. Indiana has invested nearly $133 million in grants to improve school safety in the past nine years.
- To support Indiana State police and other law enforcement agency officials, Gov. Holcomb will propose increasing the starting salary of state police troopers to $70,000. The current starting salary is $53,690.
- Holcomb is also proposing a $24.2 million investment in regional firefighter training to provide a consistent and standardized firefighting training model across the state. In addition, the state will invest $10 million over the next five years to purchase needed equipment and gear for volunteer firefighting organizations.
The 2023 agenda will include $160 million budget request to fund the state employee compensation pay study which was implemented in late 2022 to attract and retain state employees who provide critical services to Hoosiers in all 92 counties.
Additionally, the governor will request funding in the current fiscal year to follow through on the commitment to complete the following four capital projects: new Westville Correctional Facility; new state archives building; co-location of the state’s blind and deaf schools, and a new state park inn at Potato Creek State Park.
To watch Gov. Holcomb’s agenda announcement and learn more about Gov. Holcomb’s 2023 Next Level Agenda, visit https://www.in.gov/gov/next-level-agenda/ [lnks.gd].