The people of Indiana thank you all for your service, and so do I.
Moments like this should be about the future, but it’s also important to see how far we’ve come in the past year.
Last year I told you we would make job creation job one, live within our means, improve our schools and cut taxes.
Thanks to the hardworking people of this state and all of you in this room, we did just what we said we would do. We balanced our budget, created jobs, cut red tape by 55 percent, improved our schools and roads, and paid down state debt.
I even put the state’s plane up for sale. If you know anyone looking for a great deal on a Beechcraft King Air 200, give me a call!
We did all of that and gave Hoosiers the largest state tax cut in Indiana history.
As a result, Indiana has become a national leader in job growth. Last year, Hoosiers created more than 47,500 new private sector jobs. And we maintained our AAA credit rating.
In November, one out of every eight jobs created in this country was created right here in Indiana. Unemployment was 8.6 percent when I stood here last year. Today, while still too high, it’s at a five-year low of 7.3 percent.
And since 2009, Indiana has the fifth fastest private sector job growth rate in the nation.
Most encouraging to this dad, Indiana’s fourth and eighth graders recently showed the second best improvement in America in math and reading scores, and fourth-grade reading proficiency is the highest it has ever been.
We’ve made progress in jobs and schools, but with still-too-many Hoosiers out of work, with our state lagging behind in per capita income and health, and too many kids in underperforming schools, I believe we must remain relentless, bold and ambitious to keep Indiana moving forward.