News and Tribune

Clark County

February 27, 2009

Indiana Gov. Daniels takes on stimulus, pushes policies at One Southern Indiana luncheon

Governor speaks at 1si luncheon

Indiana’s somewhat unique position as a state not operating in a deficit will make the distribution of economic stimulus money fairly different than others.

That’s according to Gov. Mitch Daniels, who talked about the economic stimulus plan and continued to press for his state policy initiatives during a luncheon Thursday.

The luncheon, held at Amatrol Inc. in Jeffersonville, was hosted by One Southern Indiana, the area’s economic development agency.

“Indiana is in somewhat different shape than most states,” Daniels said.

About 32 states are cutting kindergarten through 12 education funds, and 24 states have proposed tax increases, he said. Neighboring Illinois is trying to borrow money in order to pay its bills.

Those states are trying to keep their day-to-day operations running or “fill in holes,” as Daniels put it.

In distributing Indiana’s $4.3 billion share of stimulus money, state lawmakers have to be careful not to create “cliffs,” Daniels said, referring to creating programs that the state would not be able to fund two years from now after stimulus funds dry up.

The bill is written for states in the worst shape, Daniels said.

Indiana will focus on highway and clean-water projects with its share of the package.

The $787 billion federal stimulus package has been championed by President Barack Obama as a means of jump-starting the troubled U.S. and world economies.

The state has released two lists of projects that could potentially be paid for by stimulus money given to Indiana. There are no projects in Clark or Floyd counties on either one, although these lists are separate from certain transportation-specific stimulus funds.

Aside from the stimulus, the governor called on lawmakers in Indianapolis to act on some of his legislative initiatives.

He called on the General Assembly to make the property tax caps — that members voted for last year — permanent through a constitutional amendment.

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