Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb discusses Attorney General Curtis Hill, gambling and teacher pay at the end of 2019. Photo by Whitney Downard | CNHI Statehouse Reporter
Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb discusses Attorney General Curtis Hill, gambling and teacher pay at the end of 2019. Photo by Whitney Downard | CNHI Statehouse Reporter
INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb on Thursday reaffirmed his call for the resignation of Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill, a Republican, who is accused of inappropriately touching several women at a March 2018 party.

After allegations publicly emerged the following summer, Holcomb and top Republican lawmakers called for Hill’s resignation and a full investigation.

“It has everything to do with the accusations and my belief in the victims. I haven’t changed; nothing has changed my mind,” Holcomb said Thursday. “As a matter of fact, everything I’ve learned since has supported that initial reaction.”

In 2020, both Holcomb and Hill will campaign for reelection. Before the November election, Holcomb said, he hopes for a conclusion in the legal actions against Hill.

“It’s my hope that each of these legal cases (against Hill) conclude as swiftly yet (thoroughly) … as possible for that very reason,” the governor said. “Any clarity that can be provided before that would be helpful, but they’ve got to be thorough.”

Hill has repeatedly denied the accusations that he touched the women inappropriately at a party in Indianapolis celebrating the end of the 2018 legislative session. But the Indiana Supreme Court Disciplinary Commission this week recommended suspending his law license for two years, which would disqualify him from running for reelection in 2020.

Holcomb sat down Wednesday to talk to CNHI News Indiana about the Hill case and the upcoming legislative session, which will begin Jan. 6.

LEGISLATIVE SESSION

In 2019, the General Assembly voted to legalize sports betting in Indiana, adding $880,000 in tax revenue to the state’s coffers in November, according to the Statehouse File.

“We never want to be dependent on … any one narrow source of potential revenue,” Holcomb said. “We’ve had gaming for some time but we are offering more convenience to the consumer … our ability to collect revenue has kept up with those (economic) changes.”

Holcomb noted that while Indiana ranked No. 1 for manufacturing per capita, the state saw significant growth in the services sector, similar to other states.

With this increased revenue, Holcomb proposed dedicating money to one-time capital improvement projects across the state, including a swine barn at the state fairgrounds and facility upgrades for state universities.

Organizers with the Indiana State Teachers Association asked instead for money to be spent on teacher pay in a press conference last week, echoing demands from a November rally.

“We’re growing in people, in revenue, in jobs,” Holcomb said. “I think it’s understandable that teachers would say, ‘Now is the time for us to grow our slice of that (revenue) pie.’ ”

Holcomb highlighted the state’s “historic” increase in education funding, saying that Indiana spent just over half of its budget on education alone. Holcomb said he wanted teachers’ wages to be competitive in the Midwest but would wait for the final recommendations from the Teacher Compensation Commission.

“I suspect, when we get that report in the spring, it will contemplate all the various sources of revenue – the local, the state, the federal dollars – and how those dollars are spent,” Holcomb said. “And then I suspect there’ll be some considerations about scale of procurement.

“I have said that we want to be a state that retains and attracts teachers,” the governor continued. “So therefore, to do that, salary is a consideration for many teachers, maybe it’s the central consideration. If that’s the case, which I believe it is, we need to be not just adequately compensating our teachers but competitively paying our teachers.”

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