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By Losing a Little, Everyone Won Big This Session

It is customary at the end of the legislative session to do a postmortem  and talk about how lawmakers did, or in some cases, didn’t do.  So as I join the list of political prognosticators, allow me to offer my opinion.  In this case, everyone won big, ironically by losing a little.  Let’s walk down the list…

Governor Mike Pence

  • Although he did not get his full 10% income tax cut that he asked for, he got half of it, 5%.  But even better for the Governor, he got a total  $1 billion tax cut.  In an era where states are either raising taxes or sinking under a backlog of debt and unpaid bills, Pence can claim a billion dollar tax cut, while at the same there is increased funding for roads and schools, workforce development, state debt is being paid off and Indiana is still keeping its surplus.

Statehouse Republicans

  • For the same reasons as Governor Mike Pence, by giving up a little on the income tax cut Statehouse Republicans can claim a major fiscal victory.   But I would argue the even bigger victory this session was the fact that while they could have literally ramrodded anything they wanted to, they did not.  And by showing some self-restraint they demonstrated to Hoosiers than they can govern with a super-majority without some of the political insanity that goes along with it.

Statehouse Democrats

  • Albeit, they are the party of the super-minority, Democrats can still claim a victory or two, while they lost the fight for their big issue, they can claim victory when it comes to the career and work councils.  Those are the panels that will look at help putting Hoosiers to work by closing the skills gap and getting people back to work.

Education Reform Advocates

  •  No, they didn’t get the expanded vouchers they wanted, but more was added to the pie and more children are eligible to take advantage of them.  The jury is still out though on the Common Core.  Although lawmakers voted to put its implementation on “pause” there is still a question about whether that applies to what has already been done or just on any future implementation.

Mass Transit Advocates

  •  They may have lost by not getting mass transit through the legislature, however they got it further this time than in any other in previous history.  Last time mass transit didn’t even make it out of committee.  This time it passed the House before being sent to study committee in the Senate.  However, there is plenty of time for it to make it on the referendum in 2014.  And who know, an even better plan may come out of committee this year.  And they didn’t lose any state funding this year.

Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard

  • The Mayor of the state’s largest city got a big win with SB 621 which reorganizes Marion County Government by reducing the size of the City-County Council and giving him more authority to deal with overspending in the budget.  The Mayor did not get as much authority as he asked for, but at least he can put the brakes on a vehicle that was running the city towards a fiscal cliff because certain county officials couldn’t keep their hands out of the taxpayers’ pockets.

Political Pundits

  • The only thing we lost was sleep.  But we won a lot of great issues and stories to write to about and pontificate.  Now we get to spend our summer following up on all these issues and writing about how they impact you.  And then comes the Fall where we start getting candidates who are announcing for 2014.  Joy!  Rapture!  Divinity!

  • Peteboggs

    If the cuts don’t kick in for several years; they could disappear / be erased by Mo-G madness like communist core, crash transit, entertainment / sports, etc.; support for which will locally & boldly punctuate the end of the Republican brand, in the unexpected or unceremonious form of declined participation.

    Establishment Republicans fail spectacularly, to recognize that they did build it- the enthusiasm gap. If they continue to join their opponents in blaming the Tea Party, their weak minded brand arrogance will further alienate what used to be their base. Registered Democrats won’t cross over in numbers sufficient to buy an indistinct, D-Lite brand.

    There’s much less time than many think to make meaningful correction & there’s no room left in get ’em next year; for can kicks or false advertising. Next year is here. Where will be the party of small government (a phrase that once had meaning to a base that understood it to be a real or net terms measurement)?

    Will the party’s current trend will return 8M registered voters to the polls or expand the franchise of non-participation? How does the “establishment” think their declining base would bet?

  • CircleCityScribe

    Mayor Greg Ballard, on a radio program, has reported that the Marion County Sheriff’s Department, Sheriff John Layton (D), has overspent its budget by at least $20 million.

    Today, Sheriff Layton’s department Facebook page shows off the inappropriate purchase of MOTORCYCLES for the MCSD!!!! Totally absurd, and a breach of the public trust…motorcycles for The Sheriff???? -What will he use them for??? -Patrolling the jail halls? (NOT!) -Serving civil process? (NOT!) -Transporting criminals? (NOT! they didn’t have sidecars) Checking on Sex Offenders? (NOT!)

    The Sheriff should explain to The City-County Council why his Department has a motorcycle!!!!

    This blog has published Sheriff Layton’s marching orders to deputies issued by his propaganda minister, Ms Carlson…which, to me, seems like improper political interference with the employment of deputies who want fiscal responsibility.

    Horray for SB 621!!!!

  • Peteboggs

    Yesterday’s WSJ article highlights the Republican problem; disconnection with principle.

    Likewise, yesterday’s Forbes article concerning JC Penny revenue losses of $4B or lost market share, also highlights the Republican problem; nationally expressed in the epidemic abstinence of 8M registered Republican voters who did not vote in the November, 2012 election (!!!). Oddly & tangentially, the Soros Group is vested nearly 8% in the new JC Penny venture. A prospective Nazi war criminal investing in the introspective turnaround of JC Penny?

    The wizards of “smart” / establishment can continue to blame their base / customers / Tea Party & thereby promote further loss of market share (irretrievable in this environment, due to a shortage of time), or deal with their significant disconnection problem.

    The WSJ article quotes Speaker Bosma’s concerns about the “sustainability of state revenues.” The Speaker’s long been considered a “reliable conservative,” but note the philosophical lapse / disconnect in his statement. Government is not business, it has no product & generates no revenue- the private sector does that exclusively, proceeds from which the government spends. Sustainability? What about that of the people, as the fundamental, cellular, priority concern in any theoretic chain of sustainability? Why does someone who claims the party of “small government” express himself in state voiced / centered terms, when his first priority is supposed to be the people? What people say (even those we like), bespeaks philosophy & priority. Speaker Bosma’s comments are symptomatic of the national problem, in a “conservative state.” We don’t help a party of those we like if we’re silent on the need for its introspection & reconciliation to principle.

    It’s appropriate for JC Penny to address it’s concerns in terms of revenue ($4B), whereas the state’s concerns or those of our representatives, should be expressed in terms of SPENDING less of the people’s money.

    Those claiming the party of small government should find philosophically natural comfort with the idea of smaller government & LOWER taxes.

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