If you have any news tips, gossip or rumors you would like to share or any ideas for future post. Please send an email to: 6vwts@notsharingmy.info or contact us on Twitter: @IndyRepublicanX

You do not have to leave your name. We appreciate greatly your support.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Ex Governor "Pamepered" Mike Pence stiffs Indiana taxpayers on State's Bicentennial Consrtuction Projects!

Former Governor and now Vice-President Mike "Pampered" Pence may no longer be in Indiana but we are still stuck dealing with his fuck ups as Governor! Tony Cook once again has another outstanding story. On INDYSTAR.COM today Mr. Cook has posted an article about how our state lawmakers are scrambling to fund several dumbass ideas construction projects that Pence started without a way to fund them! We know you are all just as shocked as we are! This stuff just doesn't happen in Eerie, Indiana! And for all you party hacks out there reading this: Yes we just here insulted you! Tony Cook writes:

At issue are $53.5 million in new projects Pence sought as part of the state’s 200th birthday celebration last year. They included a new $2 million Bicentennial Plaza at the Indiana Statehouse, a $2.5 million education center at the neighboring State Library, a new $25 million state archives building and a $24 million inn at Potato Creek State Park in St. Joseph County.
Construction on the plaza — with its two large sculptures and water features — and the education center already are complete. Some design work for the archives building also has occurred. So far, the state has spent more than $5 million.

Skeptical lawmakers allowed Pence to spend taxpayer money on the projects as part of the state's 200th birthday celebration after he assured them he could pay for projects by leasing excess space on the Indiana's 340 state-owned cell towers.
But two years after those assurances were made, a cell tower deal has yet to materialize.

So let's just think about this for a minute. Lawmakers agreed to spend tax dollars on these assorted projects because Mike Pence had assured them it would be paid for by leasing excess space on state-owned cell towers. And two years later the state has no cell tower deal. Now the IR staff does not generally handle large scale business transactions. But it seems to all of us that both Pence and the legislators share blame for this. Pence should have at least had some deal ready to cover the costs of these projects in full before proposing this to the legislature. The legislators on the other hand should have made certain that Pence actually had something on the table and wasn't just blowing smoke to get them to agree to another of his half-baked schemes!

Cook continues:

Now, Gov. Eric Holcomb, Pence's successor and fellow Republican, is trying to find a way to fill the $5.5 million hole those projects left in the state budget.
He initially proposed dipping into a fund traditionally reserved for public health initiatives, but is now reworking that plan after questions from IndyStar.
The need to find $5.5 million for the bicentennial projects comes at a time when Holcomb is already grappling with a $378 million revenue shortfall compared to what lawmakers had originally budgeted for this year.
"We did the projects. We have to pay for the projects," said Stephanie Wilson, Holcomb's spokeswoman.

In the two-year state spending plan Holcomb sent to lawmakers earlier this month, he sought to use money from the state's Tobacco Master Settlement fund to pay for the projects.
Money in that fund comes from a 1998 multistate lawsuit settlement with big tobacco companies over the health impact of their products. Indiana receives about $128 million a year from the settlement. Other states have used their share of the settlement for unrelated purposes, but Indiana traditionally has reserved the funds for public health initiatives such as children’s health insurance, community health centers, mental health treatment and programs to combat HIV and AIDS.
Holcomb's proposal to use the fund to pay for bicentennial projects raised concerns among public health advocates given the state’s HIV outbreak last year, a sharp uptick in opioid abuse and deaths and the state's 12th-highest-in-the-nation smoking rate.

Cook goes onto point out that last year that State Rep. Greg Porter-D, and other legislators in both parties had questioned if any cell tower deal would be able to fully fund these projects. And what deal that then Governor Pence had in place would most likely have not fully funded the bicentennial projects funding needs!

“That money was intended for health-related programs and that’s where it should go,” said Rep. Greg Porter, D-Indianapolis. “Our governor talks about having an honestly balanced budget with no gimmicks. I think this would be a nice gimmick.”
He and other lawmakers raised concerns when Pence first proposed funding the projects with a cell phone tower deal. Even Republican fiscal leaders expressed doubts about Pence's proposed funding mechanism after IndyStar exposed last year that any cell tower deal likely would fall short of fully funding the projects.
“I’m going on faith," Senate Appropriations Chairman Luke Kenley, R-Noblesville, said last year. "They assured me they can get this done.”
Amid such concerns — and in the heat of the presidential campaign — Pence announced in September that a cell phone tower deal had been reached with Ohio-based Agile Networks. The deal would provide the state with $50 million upfront and more during the life of the 25-year lease, his administration said.
“This agreement, if approved, will put underused assets into full play, enhance Indiana’s communication capabilities throughout the state and fund the state’s bicentennial projects,” Pence said at the time.
What Pence didn't say was that the deal with Agile Networks was far more expansive than advertised. Not only would it have given Agile control over the state's cell phone towers, it also would have allowed the company to use the state's vast fiber network.
That stirred fierce opposition from the state's cable and broadband trade groups, which represent companies such as AT&T, Comcast and Time Warner.
A spokesman for Agile declined comment for this story.

The deal was supposed to go before the state budget committee for final approval in December, but it did not end up on the agenda amid the behind-the-scenes controversy.
Now, the fate of the deal is uncertain.
Wilson said the governor is reviewing "the entire deal."
"It’s not done," she said. "We don’t know if or when it will be done."
In the meantime, Holcomb is backing off his initial proposal to pay for the bicentennial projects with money from the tobacco settlement fund.
Wilson said Tuesday that Holcomb  is now asking House lawmakers to change the funding source for the projects to the general fund.
The tobacco settlement money will instead be used to support a planned increase in funding for the state’s adult protective services, which an IndyStar investigation found last year is woefully understaffed and ineffective in protecting vulnerable adults exposed to abuse and neglect.
“This is in keeping with the governor’s commitment to using health-related funds for health-related purposes,” Wilson said.
When asked about the bicentennial funding problem, fiscal leaders in the General Assembly tried to cast it in diplomatic terms.
"Let’s say we had some friendly jousting going on between me and the (Pence) administration over the bicentennial projects," Kenley said. "At one time I said, 'I’m not sure I can afford to celebrate our bicentennial.' But we went ahead and celebrated. Now that we’ve celebrated, we’ve got to pay the bills."

This story alone shows why most of our legislators in both parties should be thrown out of office! If as State Senator Luke Kenley states that they were not certain they could afford the projects but went ahead and did them anyway. That is reason enough to show that he has no business being in charge of anything! If past experience is any indication the legislators including Kenley will probably come up with some other bone-headed plan to take care of former Governor Pence's mistakes! Kudos to Tony Cook for writing this story! If he keeps this up he will get snatched up by a real news outlet sooner or later!

Update: All of us here are especially honored and thankful for a mention by Mr. Jon Easter about this post on his blog. Click here to read his wonderful work.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Jon Easter's Take on Raising Statewide Officeholders Pay

Good Evening everyone. We all think it would be worth your time to check out this great post by Jon Easter of Indy Democrat fame. Nice work as always Jon! Checkout Jon's Pulitzer worthy piece Senator Head Wants to Give Gov., Others Raises

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Political Hack Jim Atterholt is begging for his old job back ruining the State Utility Commission

Just like a bad slasher film villain who just does not know when to quit. Soon to be former Chief of Staff to outgoing Governor Mike Pence thinks he should be allowed another chance to screw up the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC). John Russell of the Indianapolis Business Journal has the story:

jim atterholt mug

Jim Atterholt

Gov. Mike Pence’s chief of staff, who will lose his job when Pence leaves office on Monday, is seeking to return to the five-member state commission that oversees utilities.

Jim Atterholt confirmed Thursday he has applied for an opening on the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission, where he served from 2009 to 2014—the last four years as chairman.
During his previous term as chairman, Atterholt was given the job of cleaning up the commission following the messy tenure of his predecessor, David Lott Hardy.
Hardy was accused of failing to disclose several secret meetings with Duke Energy executives concerning cost overruns at the company’s Edwardsport plant and of helping the agency’s top lawyer break ethics laws. He was charged with four felony counts for official misconduct, but the charges were later dismissed.
The IURC is a powerful agency that regulates $14 billion worth of electric, natural gas, telecommunications, steam, water and sewer utilities. It approves utility projects and determines how much utilities can charge customers.
The commission has an opening due to the retirement of Chairwoman Carol Stephan, who stepped down Jan. 1 after 2-½ years.
“I have submitted my application to the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission Nominating Committee to fill the remainder of Carol's term,” Atterholt told IBJ in an email. “Governor-elect Holcomb will determine who will serve as chair of the commission.”
Prior to joining the IURC in 2009, Atterholt was the Indiana insurance commissioner for more than four years. He previously worked as director of government affairs for AT&T-Indiana and spent two terms as a Republican member of the Indiana House of Representatives
It’s unclear how much competition Atterholt will have in his bid to get his old job back. The process to fill openings on the IURC is cumbersome, with applicants required to submit letters of interest to a nominating committee, which selects candidates to interview and then recommends three finalists to the governor, who picks the winner.
The nominating committee has not yet released the names of other interested candidates.

Interestingly the article declines to mention Atterholt's sordid and unethical history at running both the Indiana Department of Insurance and also his time at IURC. Especially considering that John Russell reported on Atterholt's issue at the IURC back in a 2011 article he wrote for the Indianapolis Star! At the time both Gary Welsh and Paul Ogden both reported on Atterholt's unusually close relationship with Duke Energy. Which was the problem his predecessor David Lott Hardy had and was the reason why Hardy was forced out and Atterholt put in Hardy's place! Gary Welsh and Paul Ogden's pieces on Atterholt and the IURC can be found here and here. As for his conduct as head of the Department of Insurance Atterholt was told repeatedly by then Title Insurance Division Head Paul Ogden about various legal problems being created by a department head at the IDOI who had been put into their position by former Governor Joe Kernan. Atterholt responded by firing Ogden from his position. Longtime readers of Advance Indiana and Ogden on Politics.com will be aware of the story. But for those of you who may not have heard of it we will post links to both Mr. Ogden's accounts of his situation as reported on his blog and also a link to the asinine decision made by the Court of Appeals granting summary judgement to the Department of Insurance. If you like twisted and nonsensical judicial decisions then you will enjoy reading the Court's dismissing of Ogden's lawsuit.

If Eric Holcomb is indeed stupid enough to give Atterholt any job in his administration than he deserves to get his butt whipped if he seeks reelection in 2020! This story of Atterholt's attempt to stay on in state government is disturbing enough. But we are all scratching our heads here as to why Mr. Russell made absolutely no mention of Atterholt's past problems at IURC since he reported on them five and a half years ago! Tell us John why did you fail to mention these facts in your IBJ article last week? It is relevant information and any competent third rate hack would have put it in there article! Why didn't you? If you ever care to explain yourself we are all ears! If any of you feel so inclined you can call John Russell at his office (317) 472-5383 or ask him on twitter if you feel so inclined at www.twitter.com/JohnRussell99.

We suspect that Mr. Russell will most likely not respond or will give some lame excuse as to why he dropped the ball in reporting on Jimmy Atterholt! If and when we here anything at all about this we will let you know. From all of us here at Indy Republican until next time have a good night and God bless.

Paul Ogden's time at the Department of Insurance:




Court of Appeals boneheaded decision on Ogden's lawsuit against the DOI:


RINO Brian Bosma and Statehouse Republicans want to raise taxes on all Hoosiers

Happy 2017 to all of you from the IR staff! Hope the new year has been a good one for all of you so far. State House Speaker Fake Republican Brian Bosma started out the new year by outlining his plan to raise taxes on hoosiers. Tony Cook and Chelsea Schneider wrote a good piece for the Indianapolis Star about Bosma's plan to hose the taxpayers in an article dated January 4th, 2017 entitled "Why House GOP wants to increase your gas tax"

Cook and Schneider write:

House Speaker Brian Bosma’s plan would initially increase the state’s gasoline tax by 10 cents a gallon, resulting in a tax increase of $48 per year for the average Hoosier motorist.
The proposal also would create a new $15 per year fee on every vehicle registered in the state. Electric vehicles would pay more at $150 per year as a way to compensate for using less gasoline. Those fees are expected to generate an estimated $92 million per year with that funding going toward local roads.

In the long run, House GOP leaders say the plan — along with potential new highway tolls — is expected to generate the projected $1.2 billion per year needed to maintain state and local roads and fund expansions. Under the plan, gasoline taxes would see an initial boost, and then regularly increase with inflation and Hoosier income growth.
“The overarching goal of the House Republican caucus this year is to have a sustainable, long-term and comprehensive road funding program," said Bosma, R-Indianapolis. "For far too long, we’ve kicked this can down the road and been concerned about a single session or a two-year term or the next administration. It’s time for us to think about the next generation."
The announcement amounts to the second year in a row House Republicans have sought tax increases to support long-term road funding. Last year, those plans were blocked by Senate Republicans and Gov. Mike Pence who were hesitant to support tax increases.

But this year, Senate leaders seem more open to the role tax hikes could play in highway funding, though Senate Republican leader David Long declined to comment Wednesday. Incoming Gov. Eric Holcomb has said “all options” were on the table and is expected to say more on road funding Thursday.
"I’m very encouraged by where we are all starting on the many important issues we’ll be discussing over the next several months," Holcomb said in a statement. "When it comes to road and bridge funding, we all share the same goal — creating a long-term, sustainable plan that strongly positions us for the future, and I’m confident we’ll have one before we adjourn."
The House GOP plan would send nearly $300 million in new dollars to state roads in 2018 and then $480 million in 2019, House fiscal leader Rep. Tim Brown said. An estimate by the nonpartisan Legislative Services Agency estimates higher revenue in 2019 at $540 million.
In 2018, the state would begin shifting more of the sales tax on gasoline to highway funding, a move that’s expected to raise more than $360 million when fully implemented in 2022, Brown said.
However, the shift would leave a hole in the state's general fund. Bosma made no commitment to plug the gap, but suggested lawmakers could look to increase taxes on cigarettes. Last year, House Republicans proposed to increase the tax by $1 per pack to help pay for roads.

Not surprisingly many true conservative republicans are opposed to Speaker Bosma's shafting of the taxpayers. The article goes onto say:

The conservative Americans for Prosperity-Indiana plans to oppose the tax hike through door-to-door visits with Hoosier voters, as well as by phone and mail. "Before any tax increases are discussed, gasoline sales tax revenue should be moved to a designated fund immediately, and spending should be frozen at current levels using a portion of revenue increases to fill the gap," state director Justin Stevens said. "Hoosiers overwhelmingly agree that if lawmakers aren’t using existing money to make roads a priority, they should not be trusted with more of our hard-earned paychecks.”

Legislative leaders say new revenue is needed because the state's 18 cents-a-gallon gasoline tax has not been increased since 2003. The introduction of more fuel-efficient vehicles since then has caused that revenue stream to stagnate.
The House plan also would increase the special fuel tax and motor carrier tax by 10 cents a gallon. It also would require the Indiana Department of Transportation to study the potential for tolls on existing interstate highways.

Justin Stevens makes an excellent point if our legislators are failing to use taxpayers money responsibly there is absolutely no reason to give them more of other peoples money to squander! This is another good pieces by Ms. Schneider and Mr. Cook. One point that nobody seems to be making though. Is back in 2006 when then Governor "Godfather" Mitch Daniels pushed his "Major Moves" legislation through it was sold as being able to take care of the state's road funding problems for decades. If that was true then the legislators need to be asked why in the name of hell do they need more money for roads now? Governor-elect Eric Holcomb also has come out in support of this plan. Not a surprise since Holcomb is a longtime tool of Mitch Daniels and his fake republican cohorts who have done nothing but enrich themselves by draining the lifeblood out of hoosier taxpayers! It is long past time that Brian Bosma should be put out to pasture. He has done nothing but enrich himself and try to hide lawmakers emails from the voters. Someone needs to ask what he is afraid that taxpayers will see. Let's all keep our eyes trained on dear old Brian and see what other nonsense he tries to pull!

We urge our readers to contact Chelsea Schneider & Tony Cook and urge them to keep digging into Brian Bosma's agenda and how it will impact all of us. Here is their contact information:

Chelsea Schneider (317) 444-6077. Twitter: @IndyStarChelsea. 
Tony Cook (317) 444-6081. Twitter: @indystartony.