The Indiana economy isn’t working for all Hoosiers. The first and most obvious sign of this failure? Hoosiers’ incomes are ranked in the bottom third, nationally. While other states are seeing incomes recover and even grow beyond pre-Recession levels, Hoosiers’ wages remain stagnant.
In the last three months of 2016, Indiana’s gross domestic product, a measure of the strength of our state’s economy, grew at just 0.8 percent – which puts us at number 42 of the 50 states, and less than half the national average.
This is happening while prices from the grocery store to the gas pump are steadily rising.
Since 2000, cumulative inflation in Indiana reached nearly 40 percent. Imagine a grocery cart packed with $100 of produce and other goods in 2000. To fill that exact same cart today, Hoosiers would have to fork over nearly $140. The same groceries cost 40 percent more. Hoosiers are earning the same or even less, but bills and household necessities cost more.
In 2004, Republican Mitch Daniels identified Indiana’s weak wage growth as the greatest challenge facing lawmakers. Daniels, Mike Pence and now Governor Eric Holcomb, as well as Statehouse Republicans, have largely ignored this threat to working families. Instead, they’ve focused on providing relief to corporations and big banks.
They’ve cut taxes for big businesses and banks by a scheduled 42 percent. They’ve done so while blocking legislative measures to raise Indiana’s minimum wage – currently stuck at $7.25 per hour.
In 1980, Hoosiers earned the 30th highest average incomes in the nation. In 2004, they were ranked 33rd. Today, Hoosiers’ average income rank has slipped to 35th . It’s just another alarming signal that the Indiana economy is on the wrong track and isn’t working for all Hoosiers.