November 29, 2009


Indiana's Daniels offers austerity as a virtue (Ralph Z. Hallow, 11/29/09, Washington Times)

[Mitch Daniels] says he has "encouraged a few good people to run and will continue to look for other people who may be able to frame the issues important to the country."

Like what?

For one thing, "a colossally unsustainable [national] debt load — an unfair, even immoral burden we've deposited on our young people," he says.

"The threat of Islamic fundamentalism coupled with its ability to take advantage of modern technology," for another.

And then there's "our reliance on energy purchased from people who use the money in ways contrary to American interests." [...]

[H]e says, "We're the only state with a fully funded infrastructure plan. Other states can't even patch what they have. We are breaking records for infrastructure. We did it without any tax increases or any borrowing."

How did he do all this without a tax hike to which even some self-proclaimed conservative Republican governors have resorted?

"We leased the Indiana toll road for an astonishing amount of money — $3.9 billion," he says with the hint of a smile." And it's been reinvested along with our gas-tax money. We're building projects that will be there for our children and our grandchildren."

When it comes to taxes in general — and in particular property taxes, the cause of taxpayer revolts in some other states — Mr. Daniels says, "We effected the biggest tax cut in Indiana history. More than $1 billion. We cut property taxes by a third statewide. And we capped them so that we have the seventh-lowest property taxes in the country."

How about state payrolls — the necessary element of making state government work as well as the unsupportable burden that has driven other states to near bankruptcy?

"We have the fewest state employees since 1983," Mr. Daniels says. "We have reduced per capita state spending as measured in real [inflation corrected] dollars by 1.3 percent a year. Most states are still growing spending."

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Posted by Orrin Judd at November 29, 2009 7:21 AM
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