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Friday, August 22, 2014
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Kentucky Secretary of State  Alison Lundergan Grimes (top photo) may become more famous to Southern Indiana voters than the two Indiana nominees, Republican Secretary of State Connie Lawson (left) and Democrat Beth White. Grimes is facing U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell in a race that will draw millions of dollars in advertising in the Louisville TV market.
Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes (top photo) may become more famous to Southern Indiana voters than the two Indiana nominees, Republican Secretary of State Connie Lawson (left) and Democrat Beth White. Grimes is facing U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell in a race that will draw millions of dollars in advertising in the Louisville TV market.
Friday, August 22, 2014 1:16 PM
INDIANAPOLIS – Feel like there’s no intensity to the 2014 campaign? Don’t tell that to Hoosiers who get their news from Chicago, Cincinnati or Louisville. Hotly contested races in Illinois, Ohio and Kentucky are producing voter annoyance and fatigue in parts of Indiana, providing a ceiling for both parties working to parlay their work in 2014 into gains in 2016.
The issue is that candidates and parties have long been stymied by the geographic reality of our position in the heartland. I recall during the 2010 U.S. Senate race when Dan Coats traveled to Chicago for a series of television interviews only to be attacked by the opposition for “campaigning out of state.” I guess they didn’t get the memo that over 20 percent of Indiana residents live within the boundaries of those out-of-state markets. As a result, campaigns can find it difficult to effectively reach a substantial portion of voters with on-air messages come election time. Republicans in Northwest Indiana are familiar with this struggle. The Chicago media market blankets Lake, Porter, LaPorte and other counties with news that is of little relevance to Hoosier viewers and that tends to help Democrats. 
This year, the problem is especially pronounced in other parts of Indiana as the names Bruce Rauner, Alison Lundergan Grimes and Ed FitzGerald become more familiar to some Hoosier voters than the people who will actually appear on our ballots. Rauner, running against Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn; Lundergan Grimes, the challenger to U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell in Kentucky; and FitzGerald, the Democrat trying to unseat Ohio Gov. John Kasich; find themselves in competitive and costly races.
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    NASHVILLE, Ind. – In the 2008 Indiana gubernatorial campaign, Democratic nominee Jill Long Thompson said she intended to save every Indiana community through what she called a “three-tiered” economic plan that would infuse distressed areas with new jobs. I made this observation at that time: Indiana is home to dozens of forgotten communities. A town like Attica thrived 150 years ago because it was on the Wabash River. Then the railroads came and cities like my hometown of Peru thrived. Then came the National Road and U.S. highways and places like Greencastle did well. When the natural gas in East Central Indiana ran out, Gas City suffered. Then came the Interstates, and a city like Brownsburg (and now Gas City) do well. While it sounds good, I don’t think every community can be saved. Recent demographic analysis of Indiana reveals that it will be the state’s cities that will provide the economic thrust in a state that has seen its per-capita income decline by more than 13 percent in the last decade. Yet, the word “city” is not mentioned in the Indiana Constitution. There is no active “urban caucus” in the Indiana General Assembly, a body that in recent years has been overriding a number of local ordinances. 
    MERRILLVILLE – Munster is the richest community in Lake County and also the most Republican. When it was learned a week ago that the Munster schools were $8 million in debt and behind on utility bills, political heads began turning. Munster school officials quickly put the blame on the Republican controlled General Assembly, which writes the school-funding formula. The Republican attacks on Democratic state Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz and their disregard for the public education system as a whole are expected to play a major role in the November elections, both on the state and local level. That may be particularly true in the 15th House District where Democrat Jim Wieser is challenging incumbent Republican Rep. Hal Slager. The two are Schererville residents who are part of the Lake Central School Corp. Lake Central receives even less than Munster in per-pupil funding. Wieser said the Republican assault on education is largely what prompted him to seek the state representative post. 
    KOKOMO – Don’t buy the Bayh story that is being sold. Evan Bayh will not run for governor nor any other office in Indiana, in 2016 or thereafter. The reason that Mister Bayh is done with Hoosier politics as a candidate is, most simply, “Been there, done that.” I can’t imagine that Evan Bayh is so bored with his Fox News jet-setting life that he would want to return to the cornfields of Indiana and the governor’s office. Faced with overwhelming Republican majorities in both houses, legislative districts that will be untouched until 2020 and an extremely popular laundry list of accomplishments by the administrations of Mitch Daniels and Mike Pence, Evan Bayh Version 2 would not be nearly as successful nor as popular as Version 1.

    MUNCIE – Among the most malunderstood concepts in public policy is the economic incidence, or burden of taxes. One unfortunate result is a good bit of bitterness and calumny over the subject of who pays their fair share. A bit better understanding is in order. Taxes are collected through an administrative process. Property taxes are assessed against property owners, income and payroll taxes against income earners, inheritance taxes against heirs and sales taxes against consumers. However, the actual economic incidence of these taxes is only modestly influenced by the administrative process. In other words, it is the laws of economics, not government rules, that determine who bears the burden of taxation.
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Hoosiers: A New History of Indiana
Indiana University historian James Madison has published a new book on the many changes that have come to Indiana.
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  • Horse Race: Bock begins TV ad campaign
    INDIANAPOLIS — The 2nd CD showdown between U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski and Democrat Joe Bock is now fully enjoined as the challenger began his TV ad campaign on Wednesday. Bock’s ad shows him packing his bags, with the candidate’s voice over: “I’ve been around the world, but it was no vacation.” Instead, Bock describes his missions to earthquakes, terrorism and civil wars. “Now the crisis is here at home,” Bock continued. “Politicians look out for themselves, instead of the middle class. They shut down the government and risk our paychecks, but keep getting theirs. Washington’s a disaster. I’m ready to go to work.”

  • Aging Indiana ranks low nationally in elder care
    INDIANAPOLIS – If a recent national study is to be accepted, Indiana is one of the worst states in the union for people growing old and frail. Moreover, it’s considered the very worst state in terms of support for family caregivers. Conducted jointly by the SCAN Foundation, The Commonwealth Fund, and AARP, “Raising Expectations: A State Scorecard on Long-Term Services and Supports for Older Adults, People with Disabilities, and Family Caregivers,” was released in June and ranked Indiana 47th out of all states and the District of Columbia, besting only Alabama, Mississippi, Oklahoma, and West Virginia. Minnesota ranked first. The dubious distinction in a state that in a policy sense has achieved an array of tax cuts that are supposed to create a better business climate went unnoticed by Indiana’s media, whereas other recent studies such as those on childhood wellbeing have received attention. Today, Hoosiers 65 and older are 13.7% of the population; by 2030 their share will reach 20% with one in three Hoosiers over the age of 55. Indiana’s population between 2005 and 2040 will see a total growth of 15%, but an astounding 90% increase in those 65 and older. With the elderly living longer, the simple increase in numbers will place unprecedented burdens on Indiana’s health care infrastructure.
  • Indiana gaming revenue rushes toward Illinois virtual slots
    CNHI News Bureau

    INDIANAPOLIS – Beer and barbecue aren’t the only draws to Daddy-O’s Bar & Grill in the small town of Paris, Ill., 15 miles from the Indiana border. The prospect of winning pulls in customers, as well. Since the neighborhood bar installed five video gaming terminals in late 2012, patrons feeding $1 bets into the virtual slots have won more than $3 million, in payouts ranging from 40 cents to $500.  The crowds are worrisome for officials back in Indiana, where tax revenues from gaming are plunging faster than predicted. Indiana’s take from gaming has been steadily dropping since the recession of 2008, but the trend appears to be accelerating with increased competition from neighboring states. A July report from the state budget agency showed gaming tax revenues fell more than 50 percent faster in the first six months of this year than analysts predicted in December.

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  • Bayh continues to call 2016 gubernatorial bid 'unlikely'
    "It's unfortunately, from my point of view, very divided by partisan lines. Given the current makeup of the state legislature and the way the maps are drawn, I'm just wondering if my style of leadership would be feasible right now. I have said that for a variety of reasons it's unlikely.” - Former Indiana governor and senator Evan Bayh, on WFYI-FM’s “No Limits” when he was asked about a potential 2016 gubernatorial bid. He gave a similar assessment to CNHI’s Maureen Hayden in July. Bayh said he will make a final determination after Labor Day. 
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Will Evan Run?

Do you believe Evan Bayh will run for governor of Indiana in 2016?


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