WBEZ | Mitch Daniels http://www.wbez.org/tags/mitch-daniels Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Two neighboring states, one big financial gap http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/two-neighboring-states-one-big-financial-gap-110718 <p><p>George Brown of Valparaiso, Indiana, works for a steel mill these days, but at one time, his main gig was construction &mdash; across the state border in Chicago. The commute and that &ldquo;living in both worlds&rdquo; familiarity didn&rsquo;t prevent him from noting differences between the two states. Among them: The differing fortunes of state government.</p><p>He had picked up details here and there about how Illinois owed money (the state comptroller recently said Illinois has more than $5 billion in unpaid bills), how the Prairie State was hounded by bills coming down the pike (it has approximately $100 billion in unfunded pension liabilities), and how it has the worst credit rating among U.S. states.</p><p>On the other hand, just a few years ago, Indiana&rsquo;s coffers were so flush that it returned money to state taxpayers.</p><p>The night-and-day financial picture between the neighboring states got him wondering enough that he sent us this question:</p><p style="text-align: center;"><em>Why does the state of Illinois have a huge deficit, while next door Indiana has a surplus?</em></p><p>George&rsquo;s question couldn&rsquo;t come at a better time. Voters on the Illinois side of the border are deciding between candidates for governor, either of which is certain to confront some hard fiscal realities. The contest between the incumbent Democrat, Gov. Pat Quinn, and Republican Bruce Rauner is odd, though, in that there&rsquo;s a phantom player in the mix, too: Mitch Daniels, Indiana&rsquo;s former governor of Indiana.</p><p>Rightly or wrongly, Daniels is credited with cutting Indiana&rsquo;s budget and making the state&rsquo;s finances the envy of Illinois as well as the rest of the nation. Quinn pushes back on some of Daniels&rsquo; key tenets, while Rauner says he wants to emulate what Daniels did.</p><p>Regardless of where you fall on whether any state at all should follow &ldquo;the Daniels playbook,&rdquo; it is worth looking at what happened during his watch.</p><p><span style="font-size:22px;">Daniels&rsquo; account of how the Hoosier State did it</span></p><p>After an eight-year term, Daniels left the governor&rsquo;s office in 2013. He&rsquo;s now president of Purdue University in West Lafayette. He rarely talks politics now, but after hearing George&rsquo;s question, he was happy to revisit his tenure as governor, especially as it relates to Illinois&rsquo; financial mess.</p><p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s hard not to notice, I mean it&rsquo;s national news the trouble you folks have had,&rdquo; Daniels said. &ldquo;They asked me what it was like and I said it&rsquo;s sort of like living right next door to&nbsp;<em>The Simpsons</em>, you know. Dysfunctional family on the block and we&rsquo;re looking in the window.&rdquo;</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Daniels purdue shot..jpg" title="Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels delivers the State of the State address to a joint session of the Legislature at the Statehouse Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2012, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)" /></div><p>As Daniels tells it, things were bad for Indiana as he entered office nearly a decade ago.</p><p>&ldquo;The state was absolutely, by a literal definition, bankrupt,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;So, it had bills much bigger than whatever cash it had on hand. We said this has to end and I want to do it as fast as possible.&rdquo;</p><p>On his first day as governor in 2005, Daniels did something that is unimaginable in Illinois: He stripped bargaining rights for all state union employees.</p><p>&ldquo;These union agreements wouldn&rsquo;t let you change anything,&rdquo; Daniels said. &ldquo;You couldn&rsquo;t consolidate departments; you couldn&rsquo;t divide departments or reorganize them. You certainly couldn&rsquo;t outsource anything if you thought you could get it better and cheaper by hiring Hoosiers in the private sector. So, I finally decided that we simply had to cut clean.&rdquo;<img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/indiana icon.png" style="float: right;" title="Indiana." /></p><p>But Andrew Downs, director of the Mike Downs Center for Indiana Politics in Fort Wayne, says it&rsquo;s uncertain how effective Daniel&rsquo;s move was in shoring up the state&rsquo;s bottom line.</p><p>&ldquo;Some would argue that when the unions had less ability to bargain, it made it easier for the governor to get some things done,&rdquo; Downs said. &ldquo;But given (Daniels&rsquo;) personality, I don&rsquo;t know if that would have been the sort of thing that held him back a whole lot. I think it had more to do with his approach to economics: The freer the trade, the better.&rdquo;</p><p>Daniels didn&rsquo;t stop with state union employees.</p><p>A few years later, he signed a bill to make Indiana the Midwest&rsquo;s first right-to-work state. The policy changed workers&rsquo; relationship to private employers; new employees were no longer required to pay union dues at workplaces governed by union contracts. It effectively weakened unions&rsquo; standing in the state. Indiana&rsquo;s GOP argues the move attracted business to the state and that, in turn, boosted state revenue.</p><p>Daniels also pushed through a cap on local property taxes across the state. The cap limits the amount of taxes local communities can collect from a homeowner at one percent of a home&rsquo;s assessed value. Proponents say that&rsquo;s lead to robust home sales and &mdash; again, the argument goes &mdash; puts money back into the state&rsquo;s coffers.</p><p>If you hear Daniels and other supporters tell it, these policies created enough fiscal momentum that a few years ago the state sent $100 checks to each Indiana taxpayer. The state currently has a $2 billion stockpile, which it&rsquo;s likely to hold onto this time around.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/stillinoyed billboard image2.jpg" title="An example of a Stillinoyed campaign billboard designed to highlight Indiana's business opportunities. (Source: Economic Development Corporation, Indiana)" /></div></div><p><span style="font-size:22px;">The fallout</span></p><p>If you&rsquo;ve driven through the Chicago area, perhaps you&rsquo;ve seen billboards along expressways that read <a href="http://www.in.gov/activecalendar/EventList.aspx?fromdate=3/1/2014&amp;todate=3/31/2014&amp;display=Month&amp;type=public&amp;eventidn=165015&amp;view=EventDetails&amp;information_id=198305&amp;print=print" target="_blank">&ldquo;Illinnoyed by high taxes?&rdquo;</a> That advertising campaign (<a href="http://www.in.gov/activecalendar/EventList.aspx?fromdate=3/1/2014&amp;todate=3/31/2014&amp;display=Month&amp;type=public&amp;eventidn=165015&amp;view=EventDetails&amp;information_id=198305&amp;print=print" target="_blank">conducted by the Indiana Economic Development Corporation</a>) lures city residents and businesses to cross from Illinois to Indiana.</p><p>Michael Lucci says those ads &mdash; or at least the argument driving them &mdash; works on plenty of Illinois residents. Lucci is the Director of Jobs and Growth at the conservative Illinois Policy Institute. He estimates that Illinois has lost more than 100,000 residents to Indiana over the last decade.</p><p>&ldquo;It does hurt Illinois that we have such a business-friendly neighbor right next door because the people in Chicago can look east 30 miles and say &lsquo;Look, there are jobs there, there are opportunities there and I can move there and still be close to my family,&rsquo;&rdquo; Lucci said.</p><p>But not everyone sees Daniels&rsquo; bumper crop budget as an achievement. Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn isn&rsquo;t willing to stomach Daniels&rsquo; sacrifice of collective bargaining rights.</p><p>Earlier this year, the incumbent governor told a union-heavy crowd that he believes in collective bargaining.</p><p>&ldquo;I think that&rsquo;s the best way to go and I look forward to working with you on it,&rdquo; Quinn said during an April debate in Chicago. The governor has argued that strong unions improve state residents&rsquo; income and quality of life.</p><p>Some in Indiana see a darker side to the budget surplus too. Hammond Mayor Tom McDermott Jr. is among them.<img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/illinois icon.png" style="float: right;" title="Illinois." /></p><p>&ldquo;We do have $2 billion in the bank and we are in a much better position in Indiana than they are fiscally in Illinois, but at the same time, I think Illinois streets might be in better shape than our streets right now,&rdquo; McDermott said. &ldquo;I think Illinois is providing better services during crisis than we are because they have more tools available. It cuts both ways.&rdquo;</p><p>McDermott, a Democrat, said that last winter the state did a poor job dealing with the snow and ice that shut down several Indiana highways. (Notably, according to the most recent report by the American Society of Civil Engineers, both Indiana and Illinois received a &ldquo;D+&rdquo; in infrastructure spending.)</p><p>McDermott&rsquo;s point is this: What&rsquo;s the use of a surplus if some basic services aren&rsquo;t being met?</p><p>&ldquo;We could expand the affordable healthcare act [ACA] in Indiana right now and insure hundreds of thousands of additional Hoosiers but they just refuse to do so even though there is 2 billion dollars in the bank, those hundreds of thousands of Hoosiers don&rsquo;t deserve health care like people in Illinois do,&rdquo; he said.</p><p><span style="font-size:22px;">Does Illinois have a chance of turning things around?</span></p><p>Of all people, Daniels is among those who say &ldquo;yes.&rdquo; Of course, it&rsquo;s no surprise that he recommends Illinois gubernatorial candidates Quinn or Rauner wrangle with public sector unions, pay more bills on time and slash spending. But the architect of Indiana&rsquo;s brand of fiscal conservatism also says Illinois can draw from its own good ideas. And he ought to know: He stole a few of them.</p><p>After <a href="http://tollroadsnews.com/news/chicago-skyway-handed-over-to-cintra-macquarie-after-wiring-1830m" target="_blank">Chicago leased its public Skyway to a private operation</a>, Daniels did the same thing for the Indiana Toll Road.</p><p>And then there was the program to let delinquent taxpayers pay with no penalty.</p><p>&ldquo;I got the legislature to conduct a tax amnesty,&rdquo; Daniels said. &ldquo;Indiana never had one. Many other states have, including Illinois. I can remember citing Illinois. It&rsquo;s kind of ironic now thinking back. I was saying then, &lsquo;Hey look, they had a successful program.&rsquo;&rdquo;</p><p><em>Michael Puente is WBEZ&#39;s Northwest Indiana Bureau Reporter. Follow him <a href="http://twitter.com/MikePuenteNews" target="_blank">@MikePuenteNews</a>.</em></p></p> Wed, 27 Aug 2014 22:28:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/two-neighboring-states-one-big-financial-gap-110718 'Afternoon Shift' #177: Live from Crown Point, Indiana http://www.wbez.org/programs/afternoon-shift/2012-10-29/afternoon-shift-177-live-crown-point-indiana-103490 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/Kogan&#039;s Indiana_0.jpg" alt="" /><p><script src="http://storify.com/WBEZ/afternoon-shift-177-live-from-crowne-pointe-india.js?header=false&border=false"></script><noscript>[<a href="http://storify.com/WBEZ/afternoon-shift-177-live-from-crowne-pointe-india" target="_blank">View the story "'Afternoon Shift' #177: Live from Crown Point, Indiana" on Storify</a>]</noscript></p> Fri, 26 Oct 2012 12:26:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/afternoon-shift/2012-10-29/afternoon-shift-177-live-crown-point-indiana-103490 Daniels signs police entry law http://www.wbez.org/story/daniels-signs-police-entry-law-97521 <p><p>Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels signed one last bill to bring this year’s General Assembly to a close.</p><p>That bill, Senate Enrolled Act 1, lays out in greater detail when a homeowner can refuse entry to a police officer.</p><p>The law comes as a result of last summer’s ruling by the Indiana Supreme Court that concluded Hoosier homeowners cannot refuse entry into their homes by police, even if the officers arrive without a warrant.</p><p>“After close inspection, I have decided to sign Senate Enrolled Act 1.&nbsp;Contrary to some impressions, the bill strengthens the protection of Indiana law enforcement officers by narrowing the situations in which someone would be justified in using force against the,” Daniels wrote in a prepared statement. “Senate Enrolled Act 1 puts into place a two-part test before a person can use deadly force against a law enforcement officer:&nbsp; First, it clarifies and restates the current requirement that a person reasonably believe the law enforcement officer is acting unlawfully.&nbsp;Second, it adds that the force must be reasonably necessary to prevent serious bodily injury to the citizen.&nbsp;This second requirement is not part of the current law.”</p><p>The law comes four years after an Evansville, Indiana man sued police after being arrested following a domestic disturbance.</p><p>The court’s ruling caused an uproar, prompting protests and marches outside the Indiana State Capitol. Critics saw it as an affront to a person’s right against unwarranted search and seizure.</p><p>After much debate, Hoosier lawmakers passed Senate Enrolled Act 1 on the last day of the session earlier this month. Daniels signed the bill into law Wednesday. He says it narrows the conditions under which someone could use force against police.</p><p>Critics worry the law could give people justification for attacking police officers. Daniels refutes that.</p><p>“Law enforcement officers will be better protected than before, not less so.&nbsp; What is troubling to law enforcement officers, and to me, is the chance that citizens hearing reports of change will misunderstand what the law says,” Daniels stated. “The right thing to do is cooperate with them in every way possible. This law is not an invitation to use violence or force against law enforcement officers.&nbsp;In fact, it restricts when an individual can use force, specifically deadly force, on an officer, so don’t try anything.&nbsp; Chances are overwhelming you will be breaking the law and wind up in far worse trouble as a result.”</p><p>The law goes into effect on July 1<sup>st</sup>.</p></p> Wed, 21 Mar 2012 23:33:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/daniels-signs-police-entry-law-97521 Indiana governor signs smoking ban into law http://www.wbez.org/story/indiana-governor-signs-smoking-ban-law-97441 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//story/photo/2012-March/2012-03-23/RS5182_AP060111011957.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Indiana’s governor Monday morning signed the state’s first-ever anti-smoking bill into law at a public ceremony at the statehouse in Indianapolis.</p><p>Smoking won’t be welcome at Indiana restaurants, but smokers need not to worry — there will still be plenty of places to light up in the Hoosier state, and restaurants have time to prepare for the change; the ban doesn’t go into effect until July 1. Smokers will still be able to get their fix in Indiana casinos, bars, cigar shops and private clubs.</p><p>Gov. Mitch Daniels said he understands the bill won’t please critics who wanted a stronger law, but he said it was important to get something on the books while lawmakers were in the mood.</p><p>“Indiana has wrestled for a long time in how to protect public health, employees in particular and public spaces against the hazards of second-hand smoke,” Daniels said. “It’s been a very, very long march. Lots of interests that need to be balanced.”</p><p>Daniels credited state Rep. Charlie Brown (D-Gary) with getting the measure past the finish line. Brown had spent six years advocating for a smoking ban.</p><p>“Got to say, Charlie, I’m really happy for you. You have worked so long and so tirelessly on this and never gave up,” Daniels said. “I hope you feel you’ve achieved a really great thing here.”</p><p>The number of exemptions has proven to be a controversial issue, though, especially among groups critical of smoking. Amanda Estridge, lobbiest and spokeswoman for the American Cancer Society of Indianapolis, said her organization did not support the final legislation.</p><p>“It’s much harder to change a bill once it becomes law,” Estridge told WBEZ. “We don’t agree that something is better than nothing.”</p><p>Estridge said the law does not protect the 17,000 people who are employed by Indiana’s gambling industry. She added Indiana spends $3.8 billion a year on smoking-related health care costs, with 11,000 annual deaths being attributed to the habit.</p></p> Mon, 19 Mar 2012 19:40:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/indiana-governor-signs-smoking-ban-law-97441 Court rejects challenge to Ind. elections chief http://www.wbez.org/story/court-rejects-challenge-ind-elections-chief-97340 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//story/photo/2012-March/2012-03-15/RS5112_AP110618157215-scr.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Republican Gov. Mitch Daniels will be able to choose a replacement for Indiana's ousted top elections official following a state Supreme Court ruling Thursday that found Democrats waited too long to challenge the GOP official's candidacy in 2010.</p><p>In a unanimous decision, the court overturned a Marion County judge's decision ordering the state recount commission to certify the runner-up, Democrat Vop Osili, as Indiana's secretary of state. Republican Charlie White, who won the race, was removed from office after he was convicted of felony voter fraud and perjury charges last month.</p><p>The decision dissipated a cloud of uncertainty that has lingered over the politically powerful office for more than a year, since Democrats accused White of lying about where he lived on his voter registration so he could keep his paid seat on the Fishers Town Council. White was sentenced Feb. 23 to one year of home detention.</p><p>With Indiana's primary election less than two months away, the court acted swiftly — ruling in about two weeks when it often takes months.</p><p>Daniels said he would act "pretty quickly" to appoint someone to finish the remainder of White's four-year term. "I've got, I think, a really good person in mind," he said. Daniels named White's chief deputy, Jerry Bonnet, interim secretary of state after White's February conviction.</p><p>Osili told The Associated Press that he hoped whoever was appointed would work with officials to make it easier for voters to comply with Indiana's voter ID law.</p><p>"The most important thing is that whoever is appointed to fill that slot has his or her highest priority to make sure that anyone who is legally able to vote in Indiana is able to vote," Osili said. "Nothing should be easier than being able to vote."</p><p>Indiana Democratic Party Chairman Dan Parker said in a statement that it was "unfortunate" Indiana would have an appointed rather than elected secretary of state.</p><p>"We hope that person respects the integrity of the office and the elections process and will work with both parties to make sure that every Hoosier with the ability to vote can do so in a fair and open manner," he said.</p><p>The justices — three appointed by Republican governors and two by Democrats — unanimously overturned a Marion County judge's decision ordering the state recount commission to certify Osili, who finished about 300,000 votes behind White. The commission had upheld White's candidacy last June.</p><p>Chief Justice Randall T. Shepard wrote that Democrats could have filed an official challenge to White's candidacy before the election instead of waiting until after the election. Under Indiana law, he said political campaigns must "investigate and vet their opposition before the pre-election time limitations expire."</p><p>"But that is better than the alternative: that a challenger might ignore a known (or knowable) disqualification challenge before the election, wait to see who won at the polls, and then seek to set aside the results of the democratic process," Shepard wrote.</p><p>Republicans have argued that was exactly what Democrats had done. Indiana GOP Chairman Eric Holcomb said in a statement Thursday that the ruling was "a far cry from the judicial activism used to try and overturn an election at the behest of Chairman Dan Parker and the Indiana Democratic Party."</p><p>Parker denied the allegation.</p><p>"We respectfully disagree that state law places a legal burden on parties to conduct opposition research," he said in an email to The Associated Press. "Not knowing about something doesn't make it legal. We did not know about Charlie White's residency issues and were unable to file the challenge before the election."</p><p>White resigned from his town council seat in September 2010, after a Fishers resident questioned his residency. Democrats asked then-Secretary of State Todd Rokita to investigate the claims the following week, but didn't file a formal complaint with the recount commission until after the November election.</p></p> Thu, 15 Mar 2012 21:40:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/court-rejects-challenge-ind-elections-chief-97340 Indiana lawmakers to debate ‘right to work’ http://www.wbez.org/story/indiana-lawmakers-debate-%E2%80%98right-work%E2%80%99-95257 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//story/photo/2012-January/2012-01-03/RS4852_AP120103128050-scr.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Indiana’s legislative session will be short this year —&nbsp;it’s expected to last until March — but judging by the political tone set before the start of the session Wednesday, the debate will be furious.</p><p>The Republican leadership, as well as Republican Gov. Mitch Daniels, have already vowed to make so-called right-to-work legislation the centerpiece of their agenda — a move that’s already stirred an uproar among Hoosier Democrats.&nbsp;If approved, the legislation would prohibit companies from making employees pay dues to a union as a condition of employment.</p><p>The GOP attempted to push the issue through the General Assembly in 2010, but Hoosier Democratic state representatives scuttled debate by fleeing Indiana and holing up in Illinois for more than a month.</p><p>Indiana Legislative Insight Publisher Ed Feigenbaum does not expect such a boycott this time.</p><p>“I think there will be a number of parliamentary maneuvers that Democrats will employ that will be to their strategic advantage that will show their displeasure,” he said.</p><p>Those maneuvers could include delays in showing up for quorum calls or otherwise disrupting business without leaving the Statehouse.</p><p>Supporters of current right-to-work proposals say Indiana needs such a law to attract businesses. Democrats say the move is an attempt to hurt organized labor and that such laws in other states have driven down wages.</p><p>Pro-union supporters say they want to get a jump on the debate and are expected to flood the Statehouse Wednesday afternoon, but they may encounter resistance. State police last week announced a new 3,000-person cap on the number of people allowed inside the Statehouse at any given time.</p><p>Unions quickly shot back, calling the limit a move by Daniels’ administration to stifle debate.</p><p>Republican Lt. Gov. Becky Skillman said Tuesday that the rules don’t discriminate against anyone, and that the limit is based on public safety concerns. He added that the limits will be evaluated daily.</p><p>Aside from union legislation, lawmakers are also expected to again consider a statewide smoking ban, legislation that failed to get past the committee level in 2011. Supporters want such a ban to be implemented in time for the Super Bowl, which will be hosted in Indianapolis next month.</p><p>A statewide smoking ban has been sought by Indiana state Rep. Charlie Brown (D-Gary) for years without success.</p><p>With no budget to approve, this session is considered the “short session” and must be completed by March 14.</p></p> Wed, 04 Jan 2012 11:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/indiana-lawmakers-debate-%E2%80%98right-work%E2%80%99-95257 Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels is 'Keeping the Republic' and pushing for a change in the national direction http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-10-03/indiana-gov-mitch-daniels-keeping-republic-and-pushing-change-national-d <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//segment/photo/2011-October/2011-10-03/Mitch Daniels1.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Indiana Governor <a href="http://www.in.gov/gov/2635.htm" target="_blank">Mitch Daniels</a> was in Chicago on Monday, promoting his new book<em> <a href="http://www.google.com/products/catalog?q=Keeping+the+Republic:+Saving+America+by+Trusting+Americans&amp;oe=utf-8&amp;rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&amp;client=firefox-a&amp;um=1&amp;ie=UTF-8&amp;tbm=shop&amp;cid=10037755701193455562&amp;sa=X&amp;ei=wMCJTueOGZCasgKb7JnKDw&amp;ved=0CEoQ8wIwBA" target="_blank">Keeping the Republic: Saving America by Trusting Americans</a>.</em> Gov. Daniels writes about the nation’s growing debt problem, especially as it relates to Social Security and Medicare, and explained how his own policies helped Indiana turn debts into surpluses. He also included some less than flattering comments about nearby Northwest Indiana. Daniels recently spoke with Michael Puente, <em>Eight Forty-Eight's </em>Northwest Indiana reporter.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Mon, 03 Oct 2011 13:59:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-10-03/indiana-gov-mitch-daniels-keeping-republic-and-pushing-change-national-d Daniels takes shots at Northwest Indiana, Chicago in new book http://www.wbez.org/story/daniels-takes-shots-northwest-indiana-chicago-new-book-92244 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//story/photo/2011-September/2011-09-21/AP110430148095.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels has been successful at politics. So much so that many Republicans wanted him to seek their party’s nomination for president. He declined last spring.</p><p>So, there's no acclaim for Daniels as a presidential candidate. But … accomplished author?</p><p>That’s still a possibility.</p><p>On Tuesday, Daniels released his book, <em>Keeping the Republic: Saving American by Trusting Americans</em>.</p><p>The book mostly comprises suggestions of how the U.S. can cure its debt problems. Many of Daniels suggestions cite instances of how he helped Indiana turn around.</p><p>But Daniels uses a few pages to take aim at Northwest Indiana, a region that has a decades-long loyalty to the Democratic Party. In one passage, Daniels writes about his futile attempt to make inroads in the region by bringing jobs.</p><p>“Culturally close to Chicago in both economics and politics, and with a reputation for governmental corruption and labor union aggression, our northwest corner is a place employers are more likely to flee than invest in,” Daniels writes.</p><p>Daniels is also critical of Chicago-area politicians for nearly thwarting the $4 billion expansion at BP’s Refinery in Whiting.</p><p>Concerns erupted in 2007 over possible increased pollution into Lake Michigan. Daniels writes environmental regulators on the state and federal level signed off on BP’s plans.</p><p>But he said that didn’t stop Chicago politicians from criticizing the plan.</p><p>“Even though the new plant would produce less pollution than the previous one, even though our environmental agency had meticulously dotted every ‘i’ in issuing the necessary permits, and even though the federal EPA had then approved the issuances, all hell broke loose,” Daniels writes. “Chicago politicians of both parties began competing to see who could do the best Green Preen, who could bluster the loudest and act the toughest with BP and with Indiana. With a blindfold on, you could tell from their rhetoric that these people were from Chicago.”</p><p>Daniels writes that had the project been planned for Illinois, similar fallout would not have happened.</p><p>“Hypocrisy was not an obstacle. If the jobs had been on the Illinois side of the border, you can bet the press would have come to a different conclusion,” Daniels writes. “The City of Chicago was (and is) depositing fifty times more ammonia into the water than the BP expansion would. Ammonia does no harm, by the way; fish excrete it, too, and it biodegrades quickly, but why let ninth-grade science get in the way of a hot press release? The BP plant emissions would be way under the EPA’s allowable limits, which are always set with a gigantic margin of safety to start with.”</p><p>Daniels says BP made some costly —&nbsp;but “environmentally meaningless” — changes to the project, which continues today.</p><p>Daniels is making the rounds to promote his new book, making stops throughout Indiana, but so far not in Northwest Indiana.</p></p> Thu, 22 Sep 2011 00:53:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/daniels-takes-shots-northwest-indiana-chicago-new-book-92244 Illinois firm leaving for Indiana http://www.wbez.org/story/illinois-firm-leaving-indiana-90934 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//story/photo/2011-August/2011-08-23/PIC-0405.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Illinoisans are known for crossing into Indiana for cheap cigarettes, cheap gas and now cheaper costs of doing business it seems. On Tuesday, Indiana officials rolled out the red carpet in introducing the latest Illinois firm to leave the state.</p><p>Modern Drop Forge, a manufacturing firm in south suburban Blue Island, Illinois, will move its operations 30 miles to the east to a now vacant facility to Merrillville, Indiana.</p><p>Indiana Republican Gov. Mitch Daniels announced the company’s intentions at a Tuesday morning press conference.</p><p>“We operate on the theory that let’s make it as affordable as possible to come and hire Hoosiers,” Daniels said. “Creating a climate that attracts successful, growing companies like Modern Forge to Indiana is our top priority. Since day one, we have worked hard to make Indiana the top jobs state in the country and Modern Forge will benefit from our strong infrastructure, skilled workforce and business friendly environment.”</p><p>Modern Drop Forge is a family-owned business with operations in four states, employing some 700 people. It manufactures parts for aerospace, truck and recreational vehicles.</p><p>Greg Heim owns the company that’s been in business, getting its start in Blue Island in 1914.</p><p>He says officials with the Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC) and the Town of Merrillville, worked with his company to make an attractive offer to lure the company.</p><p>IEDC offered Modern Drop Forge $2 million in performance-based tax credits and up to $200,000 in training grants based on the company’s job creation plans.</p><p>The city of Merrillville, meanwhile, provided additional property tax abatements.</p><p>But in the end, Heim said the cost of doing business in Illinois proved too much, especially with the state increasing its corporate income tax by 67 percent in January. The actual rate increased from 4.7 percent to 7 percent until 2015.</p><p>“I haven’t talked to anybody (manufacturers in Illinois) that’s said, ‘Boy, Illinois is wonderful and why would I want to leave,” Heim said.</p><p>Heim says he does feel badly about leaving Blue Island, a city that’s done so much for his company.</p><p>“We have to do what’s best. When you’re in a family business, you have to think back over time about the people who have made it possible for you to be at where you are at today, and hope to God that they agree with our decisions. It’s tough,” Heim said.</p><p>Heim says when the company makes its move to Merrillville, its Blue Island plant will shut down. But Merrillville, largely a bedroom community with little industry, won’t get all the jobs that are now in Blue Island. Heim said of the 260 jobs, about 240 will be moved to Merrillville’s southeast side, just east of the well-known Westfield Shoppingtown “Southlake” Mall on U.S. 30 and east of Interstate 65.</p><p>Current Modern Drop Forge employees will be offered a chance at those jobs in Merrillville, but some will be filled by Merrillville area residents, Heim said.</p><p>Merrillville Town Council member Shawn Pettit says the move by Modern Drop Forge will help the town to shore up its finances. It’s been running in the red ever since Indiana moved to a property tax cap for homeowners and businesses.</p><p>“It’s going to be a shot in the arm for the local economy. The job creation is outstanding. The expansion that they’re talking about is going to mean more tax dollars into the town,” Pettit said.</p><p>The announcement by Modern Drop Forge comes on the heels of railroad operator CN decision to move some 250 jobs from the south suburbs to Gary, Indiana, while investing millions to upgrade a rail yard there.</p><p>While the news is good for Indiana, it’s angering many in Illinois.</p><p>On Tuesday, Illinois Republican Party chairman Pat Brady took aim at Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn.</p><p>“Governor Quinn and the Democrats in Springfield continue to fail us. The only way we can bring jobs back to Illinois is by making Illinois an attractive place to do business,” Brady said. “Being the state with the fifth-highest corporate income tax, over 7,000 units of local government to deal with, an overly burdensome regulatory environment and a haven for trial lawyers with a heavy dose of corruption does not attract jobs to Illinois.”</p><p>But Quinn administration is firing back.</p><p>“The Administration reached out to Modern Drop Forge with a competitive business package,” Quinn said in a written statement. &nbsp;“We remain focused on solutions that will revitalize our economy in the short- and long-term, including getting our fiscal house in order after years of mismanagement, making Illinois more globally competitive and investing in infrastructure and education to create and grow more jobs.”</p><p>Quinn said the state of Illinois led the Midwest in job growth last year, and is first in the Midwest for exports and foreign company investment, including more than 1,500 foreign companies with locations in llinois.</p><p>“But the reality is that Midwestern states will need to work together more, not less, to market the region to global visitors and business. An approach that focuses solely on picking off a neighboring state’s businesses is short-sighted; it’s a losing strategy for our region."</p><p>But Daniels insists he isn’t trying to start a border war with Illinois and doesn’t take issue with it for raising its corporate income tax.</p><p>“It’s not for me to give advice to anybody else. Every state has to make its own decisions and I respect that,” Daniels said. “I never say anything negative about anywhere else. I believe the competition is healthy for us all. But I’m just going to tell them … Indiana is now, along with a couple of Sun Belt states, is everybody’s pick as the best place to do business, the best place to hire people and have a good chance to get your money back. We make no apologies for ... building that climate and we’re all for going on and marketing.”</p><p>And true to his comment, Daniels planned on visiting other Chicago area firms on Tuesday to make his best pitch as to why they should make a run for the border.</p></p> Tue, 23 Aug 2011 20:24:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/illinois-firm-leaving-indiana-90934 Indiana fair reopens after weekend of tragedy http://www.wbez.org/story/indiana-fair-reopens-after-weekend-tragedy-90624 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//story/photo/2011-August/2011-08-15/Christina Santiago photo2.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>The Indiana State Fair is usually a haven away from life’s troubles, but not in recent days. Five people died after a stage collapsed Saturday night just before a country music concert. Wind gusts between 60 and 70 miles per hour toppled the stage where an estimated 12,000 people were waiting to see the band Sugarland at the fairgrounds just north of downtown Indianapolis.</p><p>Four of the five victims were spectators; one was a stage hand.</p><p>The fair closed Sunday but re-opened Monday morning following a memorial service to honor the victims, included Christina Santiago of Chicago. She was the manager for the Lesbian Community Care Project at the Howard Brown Health Center.</p><p>“The sudden and devastating loss of Christina has left the entire community, including her Howard Brown Health Center family, heartbroken,” Jamal M. Edwards, President and CEO of Howard Brown Health Center, said in a written statement. “Christina was an amazing woman – one of our very brightest stars – who worked tirelessly to improve the lives of&nbsp;women, particularly lesbian, bisexual, transgender and queer women. Our&nbsp;thoughts and prayers go out to Christina's friends and family, and her beautiful partner Alisha Brennon, who is also a dear friend of HBHC and was severely injured, but not killed, in the accident. Santiago worked at the health center for nearly six years. She has been a leading and driving force in the expansion of our women's health services division and a powerful advocate for all LGBT women.”</p><p>Tammy Vandam, a 42-year-old mother from the Northwest Indiana town of Wanatah, was also killed.</p><p>Ind. Gov. Mitch Daniels lead today’s service by praising those, including spectators, for helping the injured or trapped.</p><p>“My heart is full for those people who, some from duty but many simply from their love and personal bravery, acted in courageous ways to make sure that Saturday night was not worse than it was,” Daniels said. “All day yesterday, I talk to state troopers, firemen, emergency personnel, every one of them had a story about that stranger who was to their left and their right helping them extricate the injured, lift the scaffolding, complete disregarding their own safety. There was a hero every 10 feet on Saturday night.”</p><p>The other victims were Alina Bigjohny, 23, of Fort Wayne, 49-year-old Glenn Goodrich and 51-year-old Nathan Byrd, both of Indianapolis. Byrd worked as a stagehand. He was atop the rigging when it fell. He died Sunday night at an Indianapolis hospital. In addition to the five people who died, four dozen were taken to area hospitals.</p><p>The fair runs through Sunday. Organizers say they do not plan to hold any more concerts this week at the main grandstand where the stage collapsed. Late Monday, fair organizers announced the cancellation of concerts for Janet Jackson and Lady Antebellum, who were supposed to perform on the state that collapsed.</p><p>A concert Thursday feature Train and Maroon 5 will go on as scheduled but at a yet-to-be-determined site near the fairgrounds.</p><p>The Indiana State Fire Marshall’s office and the Indiana Occupational, Safety and Health Administration are investigating the incident.</p></p> Mon, 15 Aug 2011 23:16:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/indiana-fair-reopens-after-weekend-tragedy-90624