IBJNews

Indiana House plans $750,000 Statehouse renovation

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

Indiana's House Republicans are looking to spend $750,000 on renovations to desks, leather chairs and a ceiling in their Statehouse chamber, after spending $74,000 to replace worn carpeting in the Statehouse last summer.

The House GOP added the measure to the $30 billion budget it approved last month as a single line item reading only "renovation" with no public discussion. The Associated Press discovered it in a review of the budget Thursday.

The new renovations come as House and Senate lawmakers face renewed pressure to pay for a $500 million income tax cut being sought by Gov. Mike Pence, instead of spending on other priorities that were pushed aside in recent years.

House Ways and Means Chairman Tim Brown, R-Crawfordsville, said the money will be used for repair and rehabilitations around the House chambers, offices and committee rooms. He noted that in some cases, the wheels on the bottoms of representatives' chairs had fallen off.

"I think all building structures, like your own home, you look at the depreciation through wear and tear and you try to make accommodations," Brown said.

But supporters of Pence's plan to cut the personal income tax from 3.4 percent to 3.06 percent — which wasn't included in the House budget — called the renovation spending one more example of a broken campaign promise from Republicans.

"It seems like they want to take care of themselves first and then whatever is left, the Hoosiers get the rest," said Monica Boyer, an Indiana tea party leader campaigning extensively for the Pence tax cut. "They campaign that Hoosiers are first. Every time you talk to a politician, they say they're fighting for you."

House Republican spokeswoman Tory Flynn said the spending is routine maintenance included in most budgets and accounts for improvements such as replacing handles on broken desk drawers. The money also covers repairs to the leather chairs in the House chamber and committee room, repairs to the House's ice machine and fixes to the bathrooms.

Office repairs in state government have routinely stirred political battles around Indianapolis.

Former Hoosier Lottery Director Kathryn Densborn resigned in 2011 after news reports that she had moved employees to posh new digs including a $25,000 weight room and $800 chairs.

More recently, Republicans, including House Speaker Brian Bosma, R-Indianapolis, criticized new state school Superintendent Glenda Ritz, a Democrat, for spending $86,000 to put up new walls in her Statehouse office. Ritz's new digs were lampooned at the annual Indiana Gridiron dinner earlier this week.

"I thought that ... one of the funniest visuals of the Gridiron was to have the Ritz Carlton, the entrance to the Ritz Carlton Department of Education," Bosma said Thursday.

Bosma said that when he worked for the Department of Education in the 1980s, his office was adequate.

"My office actually used to be in the area that was redone, and we seemed to be able to function ok in there for a couple of years without any issues," he said.

Upgrades and improvements in the Statehouse have been fairly routine over the years. Flynn said the carpet in the House chamber had become threadbare during 14 years of use, causing some staffers to trip and fall. The Senate has also budgeted for maintenance and upgrades, adding $1.5 million to the budget approved in 2007 and buying a new display for the chamber last year.

But all spending has gotten renewed scrutiny since the recession with the rise of the tea party and the growing presence of outside groups like Americans for Prosperity, which is launching an ad campaign supporting the Pence tax cut.

ADVERTISEMENT

  • Restoring a Landmark
    The General Assembly building is beautiful and a state treasure for all of our citizens. Just because they earmarked the money doesn't mean they'll spend all of it on the renovations, and , quite frankly, spending to preserve a state landmark seems to me to be a pretty sound investment. Tea party activists, stop being so incendiary. It's not like they're building a gulag to steal all your freedoms.
  • Let's see the estimate first...
    Hey -- You legislators are our employees. Everybody I know has had to do with less since the recession began. Repair what needs to be repaired bu do not make those of us who voted for you ashamed by being ostentatious. It's the people's house for heaven's sakes, not the Columbia Club! Gov. Daniels cancelled a $400,000 renovation contract for his offices at Purdue as soon as he heard about it. Gov. Bayh was famous for being a cheapskate and the people loved him. You guys are IDIOTS if you think lavish spending will go unnoticed by the press. At least you had the nerve to stand up to Pence's ridiculous tax cut, when a rebate in good times makes more sense. Don't blow this opportunity to be good stewards of the taxpayers money.

Post a comment to this story

COMMENTS POLICY
We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
 
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
 
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
 
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
 
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
 

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
ADVERTISEMENT

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
 
Subscribe to IBJ
  1. The deductible is entirely paid by the POWER account. No one ever has to contribute more than $25/month into the POWER account and it is often less. The only cost not paid out of the POWER account is the ER copay ($8-25) for non-emergent use of the ER. And under HIP 2.0, if a member calls the toll-free, 24 hour nurse line, and the nurse tells them to go to the ER, the copay is waived. It's also waived if the member is admitted to the hospital. Honestly, although it is certainly not "free" - I think Indiana has created a decent plan for the currently uninsured. Also consider that if a member obtains preventive care, she can lower her monthly contribution for the next year. Non-profits may pay up to 75% of the contribution on behalf of the member, and the member's employer may pay up to 50% of the contribution.

  2. I wonder if the governor could multi-task and talk to CMS about helping Indiana get our state based exchange going so Hoosiers don't lose subsidy if the court decision holds. One option I've seen is for states to contract with healthcare.gov. Or maybe Indiana isn't really interested in healthcare insurance coverage for Hoosiers.

  3. So, how much did either of YOU contribute? HGH Thank you Mr. Ozdemir for your investments in this city and your contribution to the arts.

  4. So heres brilliant planning for you...build a $30 M sports complex with tax dollars, yet send all the hotel tax revenue to Carmel and Fishers. Westfield will unlikely never see a payback but the hotel "centers" of Carmel and Fishers will get rich. Lousy strategy Andy Cook!

  5. AlanB, this is how it works...A corporate welfare queen makes a tiny contribution to the arts and gets tons of positive media from outlets like the IBJ. In turn, they are more easily to get their 10s of millions of dollars of corporate welfare (ironically from the same people who are against welfare for humans).

ADVERTISEMENT