Governor Mitch Daniels met with the press in Bluffton, August 9, to discuss the progress and changes to be made throughout the state. Despite the casual and vague nature of this meeting, Governor Daniels seems to have Indiana’s most desperate situations well in mind.
“We’re not a healthy state, we’re one of the least healthy in America,” said Governor Daniels, commenting on Indiana’s cigarette prices. It is true that Indiana has some of the lowest priced cigarettes in the country and the highest rate of smokers. Daniels’ solution: raise the taxes on tobacco in hopes to dissuade youth from starting and persuade long-time smokers to quit. Daniels also mentioned an increase of funding toward health promotion, however did not comment on Indiana’s issue with obesity.
Other progressive measures spoken of were the lowering of property taxes, creation of larger local governments (counties and townships), and the tenacity of daylight savings time. Daniels also wishes to raise the quality of service involving welfare systems.
Above all, one of the highest priorities on Daniels’ agenda is education. Test scores are well below acceptable, therefore educational services will get increased funding, and focus will be shifted to progress rather than simply test scores in public schools. Daniels also advocates experimentation in the school systems, such as full day kindergarten and laxing the rules and “red tape” surrounding public schools. “I would prefer it if some schools opt out of the rules all together,” Daniels said.
So what has been Daniels’ biggest challenge thus far as governor? “Trying to get others to embrace change.” It can be concluded that Daniels must combat Indiana’s conservatism in attempts to keep Indiana from slipping behind.
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