The good news is that Experts predict a $1.8 billion revenue boost according to the Indy Star. But, as the article points out:
But that extra money won’t go far. Public schools say they need more money over the next two years to operate at current levels. Public colleges and universities want an extra $500 million. And the cost of operating the Medicaid health care program is escalating.
I read a chapter or two in an Indiana history book last night. The author stated that Indiana’s constitutional convention and early political experience was very democratic and populist. There was an optimism about the ability of government to benefit the governed. The constitution called for free education and for a reformative as opposed to a punitive justice system. Early political efforts were to build infrastructure. Infrastructure efforts tended not to be focused on one or two particular projects but rather statewide and, as a result, piecemeal and rather unfocused. During the canal building era between the War of 1812 and the Civil War, Indiana engaged on a monumental group of infrastructure projects and borrowed huge sums of money. Shortly thereafter, a financial panic hit the country and Indiana defaulted on its obligations. Indiana became synonymous with fiscal recklessness. The theory goes that this wounded the state badly and has led to a cautiousness that tends toward a lack of vision and a government that provides the bare minimum to its citizens.
That’s mostly a digression. Vision or no, the Medicaid program is a financial black hole and it’s still not adequate. I don’t know what the answer is though. Sick people are just expensive. Maybe the state would be better off just spending a bunch of money on light rail and other infrastructure as well as kick ass schools and other investments that will help healthy people prosper. Nah, that can’t be the right thing to do.