Monday, August 22

Indiana Almanac

• My fellow Hoosiers may have noticed that Reluctant First Lady Cheri "Last Month I Had To Look Up How She Spells Her Name" Daniels is suddenly everywhere at once. Front page story in the Metro section, with two pictures, the second story in two weeks, plus a cookbook coming out. I don't see gubernatorial polls very often, and in their absence it would be irresponsible of me not to speculate: the Mighty Atom is skewing heavily towards "short-fused little tyrant with zero political instincts who can't handle routine criticism", and had the State Police drag the First Lady out of Xanadu in an effort to humanize him. Good luck.

• Speaking of Cheri Daniels' first and third husband, he wasn't particularly humanized by the fluff job he got from the Star last Saturday, but it probably felt pretty good nevertheless. Headlined "No Cut Is Too Tiny For 'The Blade'" the story reported on the details of the $150 M savings listed in the 89-page progress report Daniels released Friday.

Now, I played sports for many years in my green youth, and I knew a lot of people who had locker-room nicknames that didn't make it into print. Maybe Mitch is being called "The Blade" in the State GOP headquarters shower room, but not anywhere I've heard it I've heard him called lots of other things. Maybe I run in the wrong circles.

Courtesy the Star's handy sidebar, here's some highlights:

•Agriculture: The Department of Agriculture stopped giving grants to a bed-and-breakfast, saving $100,000.

Note that according to the story the location of said bed-and-breakfast and the nature of the grants was not disclosed.

•BMV: The Bureau of Motor Vehicles stopped mailing notices for driver's license renewals, saving $200,000, and stopped buying bottled water for offices, saving $35,000.

Think how much we could save if employees brought their own toilet paper. And their own film for the cameras. And...

•DNR: The Department of Natural Resources is switching from Ford Expeditions to less-expensive Chevy Trailblazers, saving $100,000.

Okay, there's a $9K difference in list price, so that means they're buying 14 Trailblazers. Which means if they made do with the Expeditions they already have they'd save $430,000.

•Lottery: The Hoosier Lottery switched from color to black-and-white newsletters, saving $21,670 a year.

No word yet on how much the State would have saved by not printing an 89-page handout detailing this stuff.

• Meanwhile, last month Daniels announced that Indiana had outbid Ohio and Wisconsin in the race to nab the headquarters of NSK Precision America Corporation and its twenty jobs, at a cost to taxpayers of at least $2.5 M. NSK PA President C.T. "Gus" Kontonickas promised that the workforce could increase by 30-40% over the next four years.

You get all that? Promised that it could. Mitch Daniels is a former director of the Office of Management and Budget, so presumably he already understands that 40% of 20 could equal eight jobs. Though he was Bush's OMB director, so maybe I spoke too soon.

[Gus, by the way, sounds like a real charmer. At the big celebration (cost unavailable) Daniels said, "You're going to like it here. You're going to make lots of money." To which Gus replied, "I'd better." Man, I love Republican humor.]

And the State and the city of Jeffersonville will pony up $4.3 M to move MedVenture Technology Corp and 175 jobs across the river from Louisville. Ain't free enterprise wonderful? And these are the guys who didn't want to buy the Colts a new stadium with gambling money.

• By the way, I have nothing but good things to say about the Star's new political writer, Matthew Tully, who manages to write a political column without referring to the script. Sunday he detailed the infighting between Hamilton County's (Indianapolis' wealthy, Republicans-only north suburb) new GOP Chairman and its County-Commissioner-for-Life, which includes charges of a too-cozy relationship with the county's vendors. Too bad Mitch's new Personal Grand Inquisitor can only look into state business.

I've been watching this for twenty-five years now, and critical mass is no more than a decade away in Hamilton County, if we live that long. When it finally explodes they're going to be asking, "What's that smell?" between the Appalachians and the Mississippi River.

Tully also notes that the new Chairman, Charlie White, had a run-in last year with state GOP chairman Jim Kittle, and admits to calling him "a 10-letter word so crude that a newspaper can't even even print it." I know Jim Kittle, and I can attest that Charlie White has, indeed, met the man.


D. Sidhe said...

Silly Doghouse. Cutting the budget doesn't *cost* money. Or else they wouldn't do it!

Yeah, right.

Anonymous said...

cheap, chintzy, skinflint, penny pincher.

duck faniels!