Update on State Revenues

 

From Mary Beth Schneider of the Indianapolis Star:

 

Indiana’s tax collections continue to rebound as the March revenue report showed the state has now collected $115 million more for the first nine months of fiscal year 2011 than had been expected.

The report, released this morning by the State Budget Agency, showed that sales tax collections have now increased on a year-over-year basis for 13 consecutive months. In March, sales tax collections totaled $484 million. That’s 5.1 percent more than the same period last year and 0.5 percent more than had been forecast in December.

Individual income taxes also were up by 16.9 percent over the same period last year and 3 percent more than had been forecast.

 

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I-74 to Become a Toll Road?

It could happen if Senate Bill 473 is enacted into law.

The governor would have the sole authority to create toll roads under a bill that has been quietly advancing through the Indiana legislature.

The measure, which would expire in 2015, is up for a vote in the House Roads and Transportation Committee next week. It passed the Senate 37-12 in February.

Stay tuned for updates.

I Am so Disgusted I Cannot See Straight!

District 69 Democratic State Representative Dave Cheatham (Dave Cheat ‘Em) compared his retreat to Illinois to avoid doing his job to soldiers being deployed to Afghanistan to fight for their country. Disgusting.

Our soldiers are leaving home to do a job serving their country by going to Afghanistan. The Democrats ran away from doing their jobs serving the people of Indiana by fleeing to Illinois. The soldiers in Afghanistan are fighting and dying. The Democrats aren’t in pitched combat. Their lives aren’t in danger. They’re not dying.

There is no comparison here, and Dave Cheatham shouldn’t be making one.

Originally posted in Hoosier Pundit.  To see the original post and video click here.

Please forward this to everyone you know if you are as disgusted as I am.

Underfunded State Pensions- The Elephant in the Room

Indiana has $14 billion in unfunded pension liabilities.  This represents 50% of the $28 billion budget that  passed the House yesterday.

Budget-writers are planning to increase the amount the state sets aside for public workers’ pensions from $835 million this year to $952 million in the second year of the two-year, $28 billion budget.

Footing the bills of pensions now eats up 5 percent of Indiana’s budget.

Democrats and Republicans agree that the increased spending on pensions is unavoidable, they are also part of the reason that other priorities are being crowded out of the budget.

And that’s likely to be the case for at least the next two decades.

Republican Rep. Jeff Espich of Uniondale says that Indiana is in much better shape than other states.

“Indiana,” Steve Russo, the executive director of Indiana’s pension funds said, “is relatively fortunate.”

Are Rep. Jeff Espich and Steve Russo delusional or am I over reacting?

You can read the entire article by Eric Bradner of the Evansville Courier & Press here.

 

Indiana House OKs One of Nation’s Most Restrictive Abortion Bills

From Heather Gillers in the Indianapolis Star:

Legislation that would make the state’s abortion laws among the most restrictive in the nation overwhelmingly cleared the Indiana House on Wednesday.

Lawmakers voted 72-23 in favor of House Bill 1210, which shortens the window during which abortions are legal and requires that women seeking abortions be told that the procedure carries a risk of breast cancer.

The fact that a similar measure has passed the state Senate makes it likely that some version of the legislation will reach Gov. Mitch Daniels’ desk. At that time, the governor will review the bill’s final language, said spokeswoman Jane Jankowski. He can decide to sign it, allow it to pass into law without his signature or veto it.The House vote was a significant victory for Indiana Right to Life, an anti-abortion group that worked closely with lawmakers throughout the session.

“Today’s passage of 1210 is a major step forward,” said President and Chief Executive Mike Fichter. “It provides protections for pain-capable children (in the womb) after 20 weeks. It gives women better information before making abortion decisions.”

The House and Senate bills would give Indiana some of the toughest abortion restrictions in the country, according to statistics compiled by the Guttmacher Institute, a group that tracks state policies on reproductive issues.More than 20 states prohibit abortion after viability — when the fetus could survive outside the womb — except when the woman’s health is in danger. Two states — Nebraska and North Carolina — make abortion illegal after 20 weeks. Ten states require that patients be told a fetus can feel pain. Six mandate that patients are told abortion has been linked with breast cancer.

The Senate abortion bill, Senate Bill 328, sponsored by Sen. Patricia Miller, R-Indianapolis, was approved 39-9 in February. Like the House bill, it requires abortion providers to tell women that the procedure carries a risk of breast cancer and that a fetus can feel pain. Women also must be told that couples are “willing and waiting” to adopt children and that those couples may pay for prenatal care and childbirth.

Other provision of HB 1210 include:

The Indiana State Department of Health would be required to post information about fetal development and abortion on its website.

The attorney general or a county prosecutor would be able to file an injunction against any abortion provider they think has not followed the rules in the bill.

Abortions would be illegal after 20 weeks, except to preserve the life of the woman. Current state law prohibits abortions after viability, which is determined by the doctor, usually at about 24 weeks. Ninety-seven percent of abortions in the state occur before 13 weeks, according to Planned Parenthood of Indiana.

Many of the measures contained in the House and Senate bills have been longtime goals of anti-abortion activists. Their campaign got a boost this year when 19 new Republicans were elected to the House and six new Republicans to the Senate.

“There is a higher level of support for pro-life legislation in this legislature than in any previous session that I can recall in the last 20 years,” Fichter said.

Laugh of the day

Senate Democrats have released their proposed Congressional map.

 

This map has no chance of being implemented.

The Tea Party Rules!!!

From John Leboutillier’s Blog:

 

The Tea Party Movement is the driving force in American politics.

In every aspect of our politics – both in campaigns, in State Houses and up on Capitol Hill – the Tea Party Movement is re-shaping the debate on debt and the role and scope of government.

This grass-roots, bottom-up movement completely dominated the 2010 GOP senatorial, congressional and gubernatorial primaries – and won almost every contested GOP race. Even long-time conservative senators were defeated in GOP conventions and primaries because, in the eyes of the Tea Party Movement, they were “too liberal” on fiscal issues.

But not every Tea Party GOP nominee won their general election races. The two most notable losers of races that a better GOP candidate would probably have won were Delaware (Christine O’Donnell) and Nevada (Sharon Angle).

With the power of the Tea Party Movement in mind, the best way to analyze the 2012 GOP presidential field is through a Tea Party prism:

• No candidate is going to be the 2012 GOP nominee unless the Tea Party Movement embraces him or her;

• Thus, we can begin to eliminate candidates who are unacceptable to the Tea Party Movement;

• Mitt Romney has gone out of his way to distance himself from Tea Partiers; his RomneyCare health bill dooms him.

• Haley Barbour was a two-decade long inside-the-Beltway lobbyist; the Tea Party Movement abhors lobbyists, insiders and those who have lived off the political system;

• Jon Huntsman – who, you ask? – can forget it. Known in Utah as a “liberal” Republican who then served as Obama’s ambassador to China cannot win the support of the Tea Party Movement.

• Newt? Too self-promoting, too many marriages, too mouthy…has no credibility.

• Donald Trump? While many agree with his China rhetoric, he is un-electable. And he cannot survive serious scrutiny. But, before that happens, he does excite Tea Partiers with his “outsider” image. (It is indeed just an image; Trump has played footsie with long-time Democrat incumbents and funded their campaigns. The Tea Party doesn’t know that – yet. But they will. And they will not embrace him.)

• Forget the other also-rans, too, like Rick Santorum and Rudy Giuliani. No one digs them at all. They are yesterday’s news.

• OK. Who can be the darling of the Tea Party Movement? (But not necessarily someone who can win the general election.)

• Today, they are focusing on Michelle Bachman, who senses that there is no one else right now who excites the Tea Party. They have loved Sarah Palin – and still might if she runs. But her recent absence from the scene has opened up the way for other. Bachman is just Palin 2.0.

• Tim Pawlenty is trying to be all things to all people: he’s trying to have one foot in the GOP Establishment camp and the other foot in the Tea Party camp. The problem is that when you try to be all things to all people, you often end up being nothing to anybody. Pawlenty is also boring – a fatal problem in the era of TV in politics.

• Governor Mitch Daniels is dithering about running. He has a Tea Party-friendly economic story to tell – but he appears to lack the fire in the belly for this 2012 race.

• Huckabee is still very much alive as a candidate – although rumors abound that he is not going to run because he’s making a ton of dough on TV – and he appeals to Evangelicals and to some Tea Partiers, but not all. He is the front-runner right now. But a weak one.

• Ron Paul is more of a libertarian than a Tea Partier – but he does have strong, devoted supporters. He is a good man. But he will not be the GOP nominee or the Tea Party candidate.

Conclusion: the Tea Party Movement will select the 2012 GOP nominee. That is not to say that candidate will win the White House. For example, Michele Bachman could be the Christine O’Donnell/Sharon Angle of the 2012 GOP presidential race: she might win the support of the Tea Party Movement , but she is un-electable in the general election because independent voters will not vote for her.

We on the Right have a big problem: we have no one running – yet – who can win both the support of the Tea Party Movement andcan then win over the crucial independent voters in the fall of 2012.

Obama can be beaten. But only if the exact right kind of candidate runs against him.

So we have to keep looking for just such a candidate.

FY12-13 Budget Presentation to Senate Appropriations Committee

The Republicans control the House and Senate.  They control the budget process.  We can and will hold them accountable for fiscal responsibility.  Read the budget presentation.  Look at the increased spending.  Do not let the rhetoric of budget cuts and reduced spending fool you.  We will not be fooled.  We will not look away.  Our voices will be heard.

Read the budget presentation here.

List of Active Senate Bills

View the list of active Senate bills here.

Is Pat Bauer Delusional?

“It’s been a long five weeks and an expensive five weeks,” Bosma spokesperson Tory Flynn told TPM. “He is glad the democrats have decided to return.”

Even with the concessions, Bauer said Democrats are probably not going to vote in favor of Daniels’ education reforms, or other parts of the legislative agenda they railed against from across the Indiana border. But Republicans don’t need their votes — they have a big enough majority to pass anything they want — but they do need the Democrats in the room to get a quorum. They’ll get that now, but Bauer says Democrats have made their point, and shifted the Republican-led agenda back in their direction.

“We’ve protected working people from a march to the minimum wage. We’ve protected collective bargaining rights for Hoosier workers and teachers. We’ve softened the blow to public schools and prevented a bill for private takeover of public schools,” he said. “This timeout gave millions of Hoosiers a real voice in their state government.”

First,  Daniels did not support the Right-To-Work bill.

Second, Hoosiers did not support school vouchers.

“The timeout” gave millions of Hoosiers a reason to vote out Pat Bauer and his colleagues in 2012.