Articles

EYE ON THE PIE: Citizens must fight tyranny to preserve freedom

A few reflections on the Department of Homeland Security and its Transportation Security Administration: The TSA declares it “has developed standardized security screening procedures for all airports. Therefore, you can expect that you will encounter essentially the same procedures at each airport you visit.” I doubt this claim. Note that my remarks are reserved, tolerant and most respectful concerning an agency that can arbitrarily deny me almost anything, including my freedom, in the name of national security. Consider my recent…

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EYE ON THE PIE: Do we need agriculture department?

Indiana’s General Assembly reflects Hoosier values. It wants to make us more like other states. If others have daylight-saving time, so should we. This is called progress. If others have a Department of Agriculture, so should we. This, too, is called progress. The idea that we should differentiate ourselves from others, that we should find new solutions to problems, is not examined. Let’s look at House Bill 1008, which would create an Indiana Department of Agriculture. This proposal was given…

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EYE ON THE PIE: Do Indiana papers make the grade?

I’m always trying to learn more about Indiana. I suspect investors within and outside our state are also interested in what is happening in our many cities and towns. Yet no single newspaper does a good job of covering the news of the state. Nor can one hope to read all 47 daily newspapers published in Indiana. Then, along comes the Internet and the posting by local newspapers of their records of Hoosier activity. Here, at last, is our chance…

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EYE ON THE PIE: Cities and counties need autonomy

A recent week took me to Anderson, Columbus, Sullivan, Terre Haute, Crawfordsville and Merrillville. Here are a few observations: Terre Haute’s Chamber of Commerce proudly proclaims that Vigo County is collecting income taxes from Sullivan County residents who work in Vigo County. At the same time, the Sullivan County Council cannot decide if it wants to collect those taxes for itself. The Chamber rightly declares that such funds are helping Vigo County’s economic development. The Sullivan County Council doesn’t seem…

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EYE ON THE PIE: Focus on expenses, not revenue, in state budget

In fewer than 700 words, I’m going to tell the story of how we finance government in Indiana. It’s my belated valentine to the Indiana General Assembly. The data are for 2001-2002, but things don’t change much from year to year. Indiana governments had revenue of $34.2 billion in fiscal 2002. But forget about separating state and local government finances. It’s a fraudulent idea to talk about local taxes vs. state taxes. The two are totally intertwined. Localities can do…

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EYE ON THE PIE: County income taxes need simplification

How is anyone supposed to understand the tax maze created by our beloved General Assembly? For example, we have three local option income taxes. The revenue is collected by the state and sent back to the county where the taxpayer resides. These taxes enable counties to lower property taxes, pay for needed local services and lift themselves through the miracles of economic-development efforts. The idea is wonderful, but who can understand these taxes? First, there is CAGIT (the county adjusted…

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EYE ON THE PIE: Income tax surcharge to hit only 1 in 20

Gov. Mitch Daniels in his Jan. 18 State of the State address called for many changes. He sought to put aside partisan differences and private calls for privilege. Immediately he was abandoned by many in his own party. The idea that drew the most attention was the governor’s request for a one-year, 1-percent surcharge in taxes on those with income above $100,000. There might be some confusion about what the governor meant. Are we going to tax that part of…

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EYE ON THE PIE: Airline and transit service linked

“So, what do you think about our new governor?” State Rep. Roberta Righteous asked as we met for breakfast. “No comment,” I said, studying the menu. “Until we have his financial program on the table and a chance to think about it, any judgments are premature.” “But he’s already set a tone,” the longterm representative replied. “Other than an injudicious inaugural reference to barn-building in an overwhelmingly urban state, there’s nothing to commend or condemn. The administrative changes he has…

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EYE ON THE PIE: State’s economy holds surprises

Last week in this space, legislators were challenged to learn something about our state. This week, we will provide some data so our busy representatives do not have to do the work themselves. All our data are derived from the excellent States-in-Profile section of STATS Indiana, maintained by the Indiana Business Research Center at Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business, a service supported by the Indiana Department of Commerce. The Indiana economy is the 15th-largest in the nation. Our gross…

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EYE ON THE PIE: We’re saving more than you think

For years, I have been listening to Paul Harvey on the radio decrying the low savings rate of Americans. Our seemingly profligate ways, spending nearly all we earn, will lead us to the poorhouse, if not the eternal fires of debtors’ damnation. Many of my learned colleagues share this view. Americans are spending too much, consuming too much, saving too little. They tell us the personal-savings rate hit an all-time low in October, at 0.1 percent. That means we put…

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EYE ON THE PIE: Let’s explore options to finance stadium

Phinneas Phogghorn, Indiana’s third U.S. senator, was home for the holidays and in fine voice at the Dixie Donut Shoppe. “Rubbish,” the jewel of Jeffersonville intoned to his assembled admirers. “Unadulterated rubbish is all I can say about the view held by too many Hoosiers that a stadium for the Indianapolis Colts is not for the benefit of all the people of Indiana. The Colts are more than a mere symbolic representation of the state in the minds of football…

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