Response to NWI Times Editorial May 5, 2019
While I appreciate the Times Editorial board’s opinions, they are woefully under-researched.
First, any legislator with half a brain and who represents a district with a Majestic Star competitor would obviously be a No vote on a bill that would give Gary the host of concessions and special treatment they received in HB 1015. I have the luxury of representing a district without a casino, so of course I was able to stay out of the fray. I voted Yea as my district had nothing to lose; however, it strikes me as odd that Representative Pressel’s (LaPorte) No vote was conveniently spared from your coverage.
Second, the final version of the data center bill (HB 1405) stripped out a key provision that mandated 75% of labor and materials come from Indiana. The author claimed it would be un-administrable, but the Indiana State Department of Administration seems to think otherwise, as referenced by their 91-page document on In-State Procurement Procedures that I guess no one at the Times bothered to read. Of course everyone wants more jobs in the area, but I’m going to fight for those jobs to be in Indiana, not for Illinois or Michigan, which is why I was a No vote on the weakened bill.
Last, the state budget (HB 1001) had some good provisions, but enough that fell far short for our constituents. I’m happy with the bump in infrastructure funding for NWI, but having the entire existing NICTD board fired and replaced by new gubernatorial appointees is a real concern, not only for checks and balances but also from a legal standpoint. To this point, the Times can reference their own May 1 article on the LaPorte County commissioners’ condemnation of that part of the bill and the subsequent possibility of expensive, taxpayer-funded litigation over this. And nowhere does the Editorial Board attempt to even breathe a mention of how the education funding formula falls far short of what our schools need and barely keeps pace with inflation. Making a judgment on the 233-page budget from just one clause, as the Editorial Board does in their piece, is myopic and juvenile.
Next time, give me a ring, and I’d be happy to provide both viewpoints for a story.