WBEZ | Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels http://www.wbez.org/tags/indiana-governor-mitch-daniels Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Indiana becomes 23rd ‘right-to-work’ state http://www.wbez.org/story/indiana-joins-right-work-ranks-gov-daniels-signs-bill-96033 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2012-February/2012-02-01/RS4920_AP120201042203-scr (1).jpg" alt="" /><p><p><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://www.wbez.org/sites/default/files/story/insert-image/2012-February/2012-02-01/RS4920_AP120201042203-scr%20%281%29.jpg" style="width: 630px; height: 428px;" title="Union workers protest through the Super Bowl Village following a right-to-work vote by legislators at the Statehouse Wednesday. (AP/Darron Cummings)"></p><p>Indiana became the Rust Belt's first right-to-work state Wednesday in a move that is sure to embolden advocates seeking to curtail union rights across the country. But whether other states can replicate the conservatives' success in Indiana is less certain.</p><p>The political factors that aligned in Indiana were unique and it is unlikely the same thing could happen in other states – at least for now.</p><p>Gov. Mitch Daniels' signature Wednesday on the bill that made Indiana the nation's 23rd right-to-work state was the end of a contentious two-year political battle that included partisan bickering, lawmaker walkouts, legislative stall tactics and union protests. In the end, Indiana marked the first win for national right-to-work supporters who tried in vain last year to push the measure, despite a Republican sweep of statehouses nationwide in 2010.</p><p>It also could stand as their only victory for a while, based on a mix of obstacles that have spurned advocates in other states stretching from New Hampshire to Minnesota. The very factors that made Indiana's right-to-work campaign uniquely successful – large state House and Senate majorities and Daniels' ability to clear one last run for governor in 2008 before mounting a unified push for the measure - also could undermine similar efforts elsewhere.</p><p>National Right to Work Committee Vice President Greg Mourad says two major obstacles have blocked his group's progress: governors who oppose right-to-work and pro-union Republicans in state legislatures. But much of that could change in 2012 depending on how some key state elections pan out.</p><p>"The next election should tell us quite a bit," Mourad said Wednesday afternoon.</p><p>But if Democrats and unions are looking for a little payback, it’s likely not to happen, says Michael Hicks, professor of Economics at Ball State University in Muncie, east of Indianapolis.</p><p>“An individual lawmaker or two might feel the consequences of this. But I certainly don’t think this is apt to cause a shift in the legislature,” Hicks told WBEZ Wednesday.</p><p>Hicks said Indiana’s adoption of right-to-work is another example of how unions have lost most of their clout in the past three decades.</p><p>“Thirty years ago, the labor unions in Indiana and throughout the Midwest were very robust, dominated many of the mainline manufacturing, assembly plants. They have gone away and have been replaced by smaller plants, more difficult to unionize. And, more nimble, very different workforce,” Hicks said. “It’s a good indication of the end of the line for labor unions doing what they’ve been doing for the past couple of decades.”</p><p>Hicks’ own study of right-to-work laws in other states suggests such measures have little if any effect on wages or employment numbers. Indiana boosters of right-to-work frequently said adoption would attract employers — and jobs — to the state.</p><p>In New Hampshire, right-to-work supporters found themselves unable to overturn a veto from Democratic Gov. John Lynch last year. Lynch is not running for re-election in November and the New Hampshire governor's office has often been traded between Democrats and Republicans in the last few decades.</p><p>Likewise in Montana, Democratic Gov. Brian Schweitzer is term-limited against seeking re-election in November. His veto threat has stalled efforts there, Mourad said.</p><p>However in other Rust Belt states, right-to-work advocates have run up against squeamish Republicans who don't want to pick fights with private sector unions whose influence has waned with the decline of American manufacturing, but not to a point where they are no longer a clear political threat.</p><p>Michigan's Republican Gov. Rick Snyder, who is up forre-election in 2014, has called right-to-work "too divisive" and Michigan's Republican Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville said last week he doubted right-to-work would bring the economic benefits promised by supporters.</p><p>Experts say many factors influence states' economies and that it's nearly impossible to isolate the impact of right to work. For major industries, access to supplies, infrastructure, key markets and a skilled workforce are key factors, according to business recruitment specialists. For a state's workers, the impact of right-to-work legislation is limited because only about 7 percent of private sector employees are unionized. Over the years, job growth has surged in states with, and without, right-to-work laws.</p><p>"They are often the problem, guys like Randy Richardville, who have been pretty comfortable with unions," Mourad said. Mourad noted that dealing with pro-labor Republicans can mean either building large pro-right-to-work majorities around them in a chamber or voting them out of office.</p><p>Michigan's larger union presence has also made Republican lawmakers pause more than their Indiana counterparts, who work in a state where union membership dropped by roughly 50 percent in the last decade.</p><p>Right-to-work supporters won a decisive victory in Indiana in 2006 after the right-to-work supporter Sen. Greg Walker, a Columbus Republican, unseated Indiana's long-time Republican Senate Pro Tem Bob Garton, an ardent right-to-work opponent.</p><p>But even with the right parts, a right-to-work victory is never guaranteed, said Garton's successor, Senate President Pro Tem David Long, Republican of Fort Wayne.</p><p>"It doesn't come without a fight," Long said. "It is a passionate issue and people don't want to take that fight on."</p><p>Meanwhile, the union backlash in other Rust Belt states in the last few months has emboldened opponents trying to bolster their defenses.</p><p>Wisconsin's GOP-dominated Assembly passed a law backed by Gov. Scott Walker in March that strips nearly all collective bargaining rights from public-sector unions. Walker is now preparing for a recall election after opponents turned in a million signatures aimed at forcing a vote and ousting him from office. In November, Ohio voters repealed a law limiting collective bargaining rights that was championed by Gov. John Kasich and fellow Republican lawmakers.</p><p>Indiana right-to-work opponents won a second key victory in December, when Daniels switched his position on right-to-work. As a candidate for office, Daniels had promised Indiana Teamsters in 2004 he would oppose any effort to make Indiana a right-to-work state.</p><p>He explained his change as an evolution on the issue based on new facts and the ongoing problems.</p><p>"Seven years of evidence and experience ultimately demonstrated that Indiana did need a right-to-work law to capture jobs for which, despite our highly rated business climate, we are not currently being considered," Daniels said in a statement Wednesday.</p><p>Earlier on Wednesday, the Indiana Senate heard debate on right-to-work where a number of Northwest Indiana Democrats voiced strong opposition.</p><p>State Sen. Karen Tallian said on the floor, “We did some things in here that made me embarrassed to be a member of this General Assembly. And I proudly vote no.”</p><p>For states without all the needed pieces, supporters have resorted to work-arounds and duct tape, in their efforts to ban mandatory union fees.</p><p>Missouri right-to-work supporters are attempting to skirt Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon's almost certain veto by moving a version of the measure that would go straight to the voters for consideration.</p><p>Likewise, in Michigan, supporters are pushing a series of measures that opponents have dubbed "mini right-to-work." A House committee controlled by Republicans approved a bill Tuesday that would require employees to annually renew their written consent allowing certain forms of union dues to be deducted from their paychecks.</p><p>The lead sponsor of New Hampshire's right-to-work proposal, Rep. Will Smith, Republican of New Castle, has submitted a new version of the measure that would let public employees could opt out of joining a union but would then have them negotiate their own contracts.</p><p>Smith says he hopes the re-jiggered bill will win the few extra votes needed to overturn another likely veto from Lynch.</p></p> Wed, 01 Feb 2012 20:52:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/indiana-joins-right-work-ranks-gov-daniels-signs-bill-96033 Daniels’ State of the State address: ‘Indiana, we are now … a leader.’ http://www.wbez.org/content/daniels%E2%80%99-state-state-address-%E2%80%98indiana-we-are-now-%E2%80%A6-leader%E2%80%99 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2012-January/2012-01-10/danielsHead.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><img alt="Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, right, greets House Minority Leader B. Patrick Bauer, D-South Bend, before the address." class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/insert-image/2012-January/2012-01-10/danielsBosma.jpg" style="margin: 5px; float: left; width: 275px; height: 240px;" title="(AP/Darron Cummings)">Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels used his last State of the State speech Tuesday night to tout his state’s accomplishments over the past seven years, but he also laid out its current challenges.</p><p>The Republican Daniels spoke before a near-capacity crowd of the Indiana General Assembly, although some members of the Democratic caucus stayed away.</p><p>House Democrats are simmering over Republicans muscling through House Bill 1001, the so-called right-to-work bill that would prevent companies from requiring workers to pay union dues as a condition of employment.</p><p>Daniels supports the bill, saying businesses are passing over Indiana in favor of right-to-work states.</p><p>“Everyone knows that, among the minority favoring the status quo, passion on this issue is strong, and I respect that. I did not come lightly, or quickly, to the stance I take now. If this proposal limited in any way the right to organize, I would not support it. But we just cannot go on missing out on the middle class jobs our state needs, just because of this one issue,” Daniels said inside the Indiana Statehouse in Indianapolis. “For the sake of those without jobs, and those young people just beginning the ascent of life’s ladder, I ask you to remove this obstacle and make Indiana the 23rd state to protect the right to work.”</p><div><p>Daniels says Indiana is a much different state than it was in 2005, when he took over from Democrat Joe Kernan.</p><p>“Then, we were broke and other states were flush,” Daniels said. “Tonight, while states elsewhere twist in financial agony, Indiana has an honestly balanced budget, a strong, protective reserve in our state savings account, and the first AAA credit rating in state history, one of just a handful left in America. Our credit is better – imagine this – than that of the federal government.”</p><p>Among other things, Daniels touted Indiana property tax rates, which he says are the lowest in the nation.</p><p>“We have worked relentlessly to move Indiana up the list of great places to do business,” Daniels said. “We have made steady progress, coming from nowhere to the top tier in every ranking: No. 6 according to the nation’s site selectors, No. 6 according to CEO Magazine, No. 5 according to real estate decision makers. …&nbsp;</p><p>“Here’s another encouraging sign: More people are moving into Indiana than moving out. Our population is growing at the fastest rate from Iowa to Maine.”</p><p>But Daniels joked on how, just as Indiana’s economic picture was improving, the nation’s was not.</p><p>“We became the prettiest girl in school the year they called off the prom,” he said.</p><p>Daniels says Indiana is now seen as a leader in business and education reforms, increased public education spending and improved environmental track record.</p><p>“We are now, indisputably, seen as a leader,” Daniels said.</p><p>Although Daniels touted Indiana’s $1.2 billion investment in road and bridge construction, he made no mention of projects in Northwest Indiana or plans to rebuild the Cline Avenue bridge, which runs through East Chicago and Hammond. Area leaders have made the bridge’s return a priority, but the state’s latest proposal is to build a toll-road, which would likely mean expending fewer state dollars.</p><p>The governor mentioned a need for Hoosiers to continue donating to a fund for victims of last summer’s stage collapse at the Indiana State Fair.</p><p>But Daniels’ comments about and support for right-to-work legislation captured the most attention and disdain from the hundreds of pro-union workers at the Statehouse Tuesday evening. And, although House Democratic leader Patrick Bauer of South Bend attended the governor’s speech, many Democrats did not.</p><p>State Rep. Mara Candelaria Reardon (D-Munster) told WBEZ she did not attend because she felt Republicans denied the public’s right to voice opinions on the right-to-work bill. Democratic leaders have asked the Republican leadership to hold public hearings on the hot-button issue, but those leaders pressed on. Just hours before Daniels’ address, a majority on the House’s labor committee voted to send the bill to the full House, which could vote on the measure by Friday.</p><p>“I really decided not to go because I was incensed by the way the public was not given a voice,” Reardon said. “They (committee members) gave six minutes to a policy that will have long-reaching effects on the state of Indiana. They (Republicans) chose to ignore their voices.”</p><p>State Rep. Scott Pelath (D-Michigan City) said he was most proud of protesters who attended Daniels' address but spoke loudly against right-to-work.</p><p>“The State of the State was not the story tonight. The story was the thousands of citizens, including whole families, who filled the statehouse who came to protest this so called right-to-work which will drive down wages,” Pelath said. “The sound of Democracy is beautiful music.”</p><p>Indiana State Rep. Charlie Brown (D-Gary), who did attend the governor’s address, said he thought the speech was confusing in that the governor touted the state’s sound fiscal policy but then talked about how badly the state needs right-to-work in order to attract business.</p><p>“It was kind of a mixed message,” Brown said.</p><p>Brown does support Daniels’ call for a statewide smoking ban, which Daniels mentioned in a list of lingering legislative items on his remaining agenda. Brown has pushed for such a ban for years but met stiff resistance from business groups, including casino interests, which argued Indiana would lose tourism dollars to states that did not restrict smoking.</p><p>Bauer, meanwhile, took fault with Daniels’ descriptions of Indiana as a magnet for new jobs and expanding personal incomes. Bauer pointed to the state’s current 9 percent unemployment rate, compared to the 5.5 percent jobless rate when Daniels took office.</p><p>Indiana House Speaker Brian Bosma (R-Indianapolis) plans to reconvene the House at 12:30 Central time Wednesday, but it’s unknown if Democrats will return.</p></div></p> Thu, 12 Jan 2012 00:48:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/content/daniels%E2%80%99-state-state-address-%E2%80%98indiana-we-are-now-%E2%80%A6-leader%E2%80%99 Indiana governor disputes report on persuading CME Group to move http://www.wbez.org/story/indiana-governor-disputes-report-persuading-cme-group-move-92694 <p><p>Ind. Gov. Mitch Daniels is disputing a report that his office is luring a Chicago-based company across the state border.</p><p><a href="http://www.chicagobusiness.com/section/blogs?blogID=greg-hinz&amp;plckController=Blog&amp;plckBlogPage=BlogViewPost&amp;uid=1daca073-2eab-468e-9f19-ec177090a35c&amp;plckPostId=Blog:1daca073-2eab-468e-9f19-ec177090a35cPost:0ce755b6-5287-4a57-b854-3eac617ba6b9&amp;plckScript=blogScript&amp;plckElementId=blogDest">Crain's Chicago Business reports</a> the Republican governor is offering the CME Group $150 million to move its headquarters to Indiana.</p><p>Daniels would not comment on his efforts to move the CME Group, but he denies the information came from his office.</p><p>"Anybody who might be looking at bringing jobs to our state, we respect their confidence and it would hurt our chances if we ever spoke openly before an agreement was reached," Daniels told WBEZ by phone on Friday.</p><p>Indiana has been advertising in Illinois to try to persuade businesses to move after Illinois raised the personal income and corporate tax earlier this year.</p></p> Fri, 30 Sep 2011 20:17:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/indiana-governor-disputes-report-persuading-cme-group-move-92694