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!
An article written today by the Associated Press appeared on the Indianapolis Business Journal's website which details the bailing out of Mike Pence's stupidity. The AP writes:
Indiana lawmakers are bailing out the state's former governor, Vice President Mike Pence, after the Republican's efforts to pay for two completed projects celebrating the state's bicentennial foundered.
A provision tucked into the state's next two-year budget, which was approved late last month by the GOP-dominated Legislature, sets aside $5.5 million to pay for an elaborate plaza constructed outside the Statehouse in Indianapolis and upgrades to the state library.
"They did the work, so somebody had to pay for it," said Sen. Luke Kenley, R-Noblesville, who is one of the state's lead budget writers.
As the AP points out though the bulk of Pence's planned projects have yet to be funded:
Still, funding for the rest of the $53.5 million in projects Pence planned to celebrate Indiana's 200th year has not materialized, including financing for a new state archives building and money to build an inn at northern Indiana's Potato Creek State Park. It's unclear when—or if—the state will move forward with those projects, which have been on hold for more than a year.
Lawmakers were skeptical when Pence first pitched the plan in 2015, with Kenley questioning "if we could afford a bicentennial." Pence won them over after proposing to pay for the projects by leasing out 340 state-owned cellphone towers through a public-private partnership.
But one year later, Pence was still struggling to make his plan work. He even declined an offer of help from Kenley, who proposed shifting money from a revenue stream used to pay for some of Pence's other priorities.
As IR wrote back in January:
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!
Then last September, Pence touted a new 25-year deal with Agile Networks that his administration said would expand high-speed internet access in rural areas, while bringing in $50 million for the state upfront.
But that drew opposition from the state's cable and broadband trade groups, which represent companies such as AT&T, Comcast and Time Warner, because it would've allowed Agile—a competitor—to get a leg up and use the state's fiber network.
Gov. Eric Holcomb, Pence's successor, pulled the plug on the tentative plan shortly after taking office this year.
Rep. Greg Porter, the Democrats' point person on the budget, said Pence was counting on "magic money that didn't appear."
"I knew it was highly suspect because it took so long to develop," said Porter, of Indianapolis. "He planned for a party, had the party and didn't have anybody to pay for it."
A spokesman for Pence did not respond to a request for comment.
Kenley said the agreement with Agile ended up being more complicated than it initially appeared and could have negatively impacted local companies.
"The subject matter was more complicated than we initially expected it to be," he said.
It would have granted extensive control of state property to Agile, which would have been in charge of managing and operating the towers. That could have required competitors to reveal confidential business plans when seeking right-of-way approval from Agile to use state lands.
"On the face of it, it was anti-competitive to my members," said John Koppin, president of the Indiana Broadband and Technology Association, which represents AT&T and CenturyLink, among others.
Kenley and Holcomb said they hope to come up with a workable alternative in the future. In a memo, Holcomb administration officials said that the governor intends to "manage the individual leases on towers ourselves instead of seeking proposals for third-party managers."
They also hope revenues from a new deal will finally fund the projects Pence first proposed.
IR's staffs interest was piqued after reading about the now aborted deal with Agile Networks that would have given them what comes dangerously close to a monopoly over the state of Indiana's cell phone towers. Given what has been revealed about Mike Pence we seriously doubted that he wanted to lease the cell phone towers to Agile Networks for the benefit of Hoosiers. So we decided to do some digging into Agile Networks. It appears that Kyle Quillen, a founder and Chief Technology Officer at Agile had donated money to Mike Pence's Campaign. According to Quillen's bio on Agile's website:
Quillen is a "a nationally recognized leader in the design, engineering and deployment of Data Infrastructure aimed at Economic Development and reducing costs for Government."
Quillen's LinkedIn page says:
He is: "Experienced in Public/Private Partnerships aimed at Broadband Development and Data Infrastructure Building."
Sounds like a polite way of saying that Quillen is also responsible for trying to buy access to government officals in order to help fill his companies coffers! Public/Private Partnerships have become synonymous over the past few decades with legalized influence peddling!
Looks like the local and national media should start looking more closely into Agile Networks relationship with Mike Pence. Especially since Eric Holcomb's administration has stated they hope a new deal will come about that will fully fund Mike Pence's proposed projects! Sounds like "Bagman" Holcomb could have killed the deal with Agile only to be setting up taxpayers with an equally bad if not worse deal!
See below for the record of Mr. Quillen's contribution to Mike Pence in 2016:
|Committee Name:||Mike Pence for Indiana||Filing Description:||2016 2nd Quarterly Report|
|File Number:||6171||Reporting Period:||04/01/2016 - 06/30/2016|
|Committee Type:||Candidate||Filing Due:||07/15/2016|
|Contributor Type:||Receipt Date:||Amount:||Cumulative Year-To-Date:||Large:||Contribution Type:||Amendment:|
|518 Fair Ave. NW|
|New Philadelphia, OH 44663|