Senator drops bill to create Statehouse souvenir shop

Sen. Thomas Wyss, R-Fort Wayne, has withdrawn a bill that would have allowed the construction of a souvenir shop in the Indiana Statehouse over concerns about the cost.

Senate Bill 239 would have required the Indiana Department of Administration to establish, maintain, and operate the shop.

The bill’s fiscal analysis did not put a total cost on the project. But it said initial costs would include purchasing inventory, hiring staff, and possible architectural or electrical issues depending on the location. Salary costs, including fringe benefits, would range between $88,000 and $135,000 for two full-time managers and two part-time employees.

The fiscal analysis used a gift shop at the Ohio Statehouse as a model. That shop had total revenue of $263,000 in 2013. The analysis said revenue generated by a shop could support operational costs.

Wyss called the cost estimates “ridiculous.”

“I have no idea why they put such a number up there,” Wyss said.

He said officials a the Department of Administration – an agency under Gov. Mike Pence that oversees state buildings and construction – told him there are “still major problems” with the legislation.

So, he told Senate Economic Development & Technology Chairman Jim Buck, R-Kokomo, to not “even hear the bill.”

Wyss said another legislator might push for a Statehouse souvenier shop in the future – but it won’t happen this year with his bill.

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