Indiana enters next phase of Back on Track plan

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (WEHT) – The state of Indiana announced 493 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the total to 30,409. Additionally, the state announced 27 new deaths, bringing the total deaths across Indiana to 1,791.

State officials also provided an update on unemployment in the state, announcing that Indiana’s unemployment rate of 16.9% is now the highest it has been since 1982. Nationally, the unemployment rate is currently at about 14%.

Governor Holcomb also issued an order that lags should be flown at half-staff from now until sunset Sunday, May 24 to honor those who have lost their lives due to COVID-19.

The state also provided an update on the PPE Marketplace. Over 18 million pieces of PPE have been donated so far, and the marketplace has already shipped over 20,000 bundles to businesses in the state.

Additionally, Governor Holcomb announced he has asked the State Budget Agency (SBA) to initiate plans to reduce state agency appropriations by 15 percent for Fiscal Year 2021 because of the sharp drop in state revenues that was reported for April. This will also help to prepare for a continued decline in state revenue because of the economic impact of COVID-19. 

SBA already has initiated actions to reduce spending for the remainder of the current fiscal year, which ends June 30. Cost savings measures were instituted in April to review operations, space, travel, hiring and many other areas for savings.

In addition to the state agency reversions, Gov. Holcomb said the state would not move forward or put on hold several previously announced projects:

  • Use of $291 million in reserves to pay for several capital projects approved in the 2020 legislative session. Bonding authority may be used to move forward with those projects later
  • Approximately $65 million in Next Level Trails grants
  •  $110 million of deferred maintenance projects, including $70 million for state parks

Governor Holcomb says he continues to work on a plan for schools in the fall.

State officials also urged residents to remain safe and vigilant over the holiday weekend.

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(This story was originally published on May 22, 2020)

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