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State lawmakers eye budget talks, contingency plan-WEB ONLY

The two words frame the biggest question of the special legislative session Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels is expected to call next month: What if lawmakers don’t pass a budget by June 30, when the current two-year spending plan expires? The Daniels administration is taking a “don’t even go there” approach. But Sen. Luke Kenley (R-Noblesville) […]

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Signs point toward difficult special session-WEB ONLY

Indiana legislative leaders have a debate blueprint they hope will prevent a long, costly special session for a new state spending plan. They’ve formed a special committee that will ask for a revised revenue forecast, even though lawmakers just received one last month. They want a full budget proposal from Republican Gov. Mitch Daniels, complete […]

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Sides disagree on Daniels’ budget guidance-WEB ONLY

Normal 0 false false false MicrosoftInternetExplorer4 Three days before the Indiana General Assembly was to end last week, Republican Gov. Mitch Daniels said one way to avoid an extra session was to be clear about what he could and could not accept in a new state budget. He said budget plans passed by House Democrats […]

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Weighty bills look doomed as session nears end-WEB ONLY

Keep hope alive. That’s the stance Rep. Charlie Brown (D-Gary) is taking in hopes of reviving a bill that would impose a statewide smoking ban in enclosed public places. A version of the bill passed the House but went nowhere in the Senate. Now Brown hopes it finds new life in late-session conference committees, where […]

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Games, gimmicks dominate property-tax fight-WEB ONLY

The fight between House Republicans and Democrats over constitutional caps on property taxes has become kind of strange. The partisan positions for and against voting this year to put property-tax caps into the state constitution raise legitimate arguments for each side. It’s how the battle has played out that’s been bizarre. It has involved projectors, […]

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State lawmakers prepare for budget challenge-WEB ONLY

Lost of late in the turbulent, political waters of the Indiana General Assembly is a necessity lawmakers face – passing a new state budget during a deep recession with a Democrat-controlled House and Republican-ruled Senate. That task has been overshadowed recently by the partisan fight over trying to fix Indiana’s bankrupt unemployment insurance fund, one […]

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Fixing jobless system becomes mammoth chore-WEB ONLY

Efforts to fix Indiana’s bankrupt unemployment insurance system are shaping up as a slugfest in the General Assembly, one likely to last to the end of the session in late April – if not beyond. “This is the one issue that can slip us into a special session, and we had the opportunity to start […]

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Fixing jobless system becomes epic chore-WEB ONLY

Efforts to fix Indiana’s bankrupt unemployment insurance system are shaping up as a slugfest in the General Assembly, one likely to last to the end of the session in late April – if not beyond. “This is the one issue that can slip us into a special session, and we had the opportunity to start […]

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Local government restructuring a longshot-WEB ONLY

There’s a saying at the Indiana Statehouse that nothing is dead until lawmakers gavel out and go home. There’s some truth to that, but it would probably take extreme political mastery to revive legislation this year to overhaul the local government system in Indiana. It’s on its death bed, and the buzzards are circling above. […]

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Daniels, Bauer clash anew over budget, priorities-WEB ONLY

Gov. Mitch Daniels and Indiana House Speaker Patrick Bauer have more in common than they might think. Both are headstrong politicians who wield tremendous power. And both have a way with words, especially when they aren’t getting what they want. So it’s no surprise that the Republican governor and the Democratic speaker are once again […]

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Lawmakers still wrestling with budget, job issues-WEB ONLY

Democrats and Republicans in the Indiana General Assembly carved out some wide, partisan divides on several big issues during the first two months of the 2009 legislative session, setting the stage for a second-half rumble. Lawmakers reached the session midpoint – when bills passed by the House and Senate are taken up by the opposite […]

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New Indiana budget debate: One year or two?-WEB ONLY

Partisan battles over drafting state budgets in Indiana always include arguments over how much taxpayer money to spend, where the dollars should go and how they should be doled out. But, for the first time in years, the budget debate this legislative session includes a new element, and a very heated one at that: Should […]

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Jobs, budget not only issues for state lawmakers-WEB ONLY

Indiana lawmakers came into this legislative session knowing that trying to boost the state’s sagging economy and drafting a new state budget in tight fiscal times would be the dominant issues. That’s mostly been the case so far, and an expected influx of billions of federal dollars should enhance efforts by Gov. Mitch Daniels and […]

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Arguments for, against smoking ban run gamut-WEB ONLY

State Rep. Charlie Brown has a simple goal: ban smoking in enclosed public places in Indiana. But Brown, a Democrat from Gary, knows getting his legislation through the General Assembly won’t be easy. The bill has been characterized as one that pits life or death against dollars and cents. But it’s not nearly so black […]

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Stimulus to change dynamics at Statehouse-WEB ONLY

There’s no doubt that Gov. Mitch Daniels, lawmakers and school officials will cash the check when Indiana receives its share of a federal stimulus package making its way through Congress. Daniels and legislators began this session expecting to have little new money to spend over the next two years, but now the state and its […]

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House speaker not high on several hot issues-WEB ONLY

Most lawmakers say the biggest issue before the Indiana General Assembly this year is passing a balanced budget during tough economic times. But there are a few hot topics that some legislators also want addressed this session. They include taking the next step toward amending caps on property tax bills into the state constitution, starting […]

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Daniels: Hard financial decisions ahead-WEB ONLY

Gov. Mitch Daniels cautioned lawmakers about Indiana’s fiscal challenges during his State of the State speech last night, saying that drafting a new two-year budget this session will be full of hard decisions. But Daniels, sworn in to a second term on Monday, said spending restraints and other actions taken during his first term have […]

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