The next General Assembly doesn’t start until January, but political types already are taking shots at each other in anticipation of a brutal fight over dwindling resources.
Consider this exchange in a story in this weekend’s IBJ by Peter Schnitzler:
House Speaker Pat Bauer, a Democrat: “It has become increasingly apparent that any kind of fair and objective analysis of the fiscal condition of our state has to be filtered through the lens of an administration that simply cannot be trusted anymore to tell the complete story on issues like the state budget.”
To which Ryan Kitchell, state budget director to Republican Gov. Mitch Daniels, replied: “Bauer’s constant attacks lack any credibility. His House voted to spend $2 billion the state didn’t have. Had we done this, we’d be bankrupt. Last time he controlled state spending, the state went totally broke. And if we listen to him again, the same result will occur.”
Pretty much everything that could be cut without major pain was slashed long ago, and the state is still burning through its reserves.
The next session, which will mostly focus on writing a new two-year budget, is expected to degenerate into one of the worst brawls experienced in the Legislature in decades.
What are your thoughts? Daniels has been saying for some time now that states, neither Indiana nor elsewhere, may not be able to continue offering some of the services they’ve historically handled.
Will this kind of financial pressure be what finally puts local government reform over the top?