Political Notebook

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Wyss tops area pro-business votes

Which state legislators voted for pro-business legislation during the 2010 session of the Indiana General Assembly?

Which failed to meet that standard?

The Indiana Chamber of Commerce released its annual legislative vote analysis last week with the answers, and Sen. Tom Wyss, R-Fort Wayne, topped the list of pro-business area lawmakers.

“The importance of holding legislators accountable cannot be underestimated. Employers and employees – all voters in general – need to have an objective and clear understanding of how their legislators vote on vital issues and in turn, how that impacts their individual prosperity,” Indiana Chamber President Kevin Brinegar said.

State legislators who score 70 percent or greater for the most recent two-year voting period are eligible for endorsement by the Chamber’s political action committee, Indiana Business for Responsive Government.

Here are the scores for area lawmakers:

Rep. Matt Bell, R-Avilla – 2010 pro-business voting: 74 percent; two-year average: 83 percent

Rep. Randy Borror, R-Fort Wayne – 2010 voting: 80 percent; two-year average: 86 percent

Rep. Dick Dodge, R-Pleasant Lake – 2010 voting: 73 percent; two-year average: 79 percent

Rep. Jeff Espich, R-Uniondale – 2010 voting: 76 percent; two-year average: 80 percent

Rep. Phil GiaQuinta, D-Fort Wayne – 2010 voting: 61 percent; two-year average: 53 percent

Rep. Matthew Lehman, R-Berne – 2010 voting: 76 percent; two-year average: 82 percent

Rep. Dan Leonard, R-Huntington – 2010 voting: 85 percent; two-year average: 89 percent

Rep. Win Moses, D-Fort Wayne – 2010 voting: 51 percent; two-year average: 49 percent

Rep. Phyllis Pond, R-New Haven – 2010 voting: 78 percent; two-year average: 78 percent

Rep. Bill Ruppel, R-North Manchester – 2010 voting: 76 percent; two-year average: 83 percent

Rep. David Wolkins, R-Winona Lake – 2010 voting: 72 percent; two-year average: 83 percent

Rep. David Yarde, R-Garrett – 2010 voting: 73 percent; two-year average: 81 percent

Sen. Gary Dillon, R-Columbia City – 2010 voting: 81 percent; two-year average: 83 percent

Sen. Travis Holdman, R-Markle – 2010 voting: 86 percent; two-year average: 82 percent

Sen. Dennis Kruse, R-Auburn – 2010 voting: 79 percent; two-year average: 74 percent

Sen. David Long, R-Fort Wayne – 2010 voting: 83 percent; two-year average: 82 percent

Sen. Marlin Stutzman, R-Howe – 2010 voting: 83 percent; two-year average: 81 percent

Wyss – 2010 voting: 93 percent; two-year average: 90 percent

Paying for space

The city of Fort Wayne owes itself property taxes this year for its new administrative headquarters on Berry Street.

Because Renaissance Square was privately owned March 1, the official date properties are assessed for taxing purposes, $257,504 in property taxes is owed to local governments this year for the property.

Of that, $106,094 is owed to the city. An additional $71,703 will go to Fort Wayne Community Schools. The city’s money will also go toward Wayne Township, Citilink, Allen County Public Library, Fort Wayne International Airport and the county.

But that money won’t be available to those taxing units in the future because the city will pay no taxes on the property beginning in 2011, Deputy Auditor Tera Klutz said.

Instead, those dollars will be spread to other taxpayers or absorbed into the city’s $10.5 million circuit-breaker loss, Klutz said.

The city bought the office building and two parking lots for $7.3 million in December. The final purchase price was adjusted by $229,226.90 to cover the estimated cost of the taxes, mayor’s spokesman Ozzie Mitson said.

Quiet trip

Mayor Tom Henry returned from a weeklong trip to Poland on Tuesday, but people might not have even known he was gone. Unlike his previous trip to Asia, this one was accompanied by no formal announcement.

Rachel Blakeman, Henry spokeswoman, said the first trip was the mayor’s first time leaving the country while in office, so the city made a slightly bigger deal of it, especially because he was also going to China to research a potential sister city there.

The trip to Plock, Poland, was part of Henry’s trip to the sister city to mark the 20th anniversary of the start of the relationship. A Plock delegation will come to Fort Wayne in July. Yet the only public notice of the trip was a small mention of it when the city asked people to sign a condolence book for Polish officials who died in a plane crash last month. Knowing when their elected leader is out of the country probably isn’t too much for city residents to ask.

As a comparison, Gov. Mitch Daniels’ official overseas trips have always been accompanied by some advance notice and details.

Hoosiers for Quayle

Ben Quayle, 33-year-old son of former Vice President Dan Quayle, is leading a 13-candidate money race for an open congressional seat in Arizona, and Hoosiers are helping him pay for the campaign.

Sixteen donors with Indiana addresses have sent the younger Quayle a total of $29,100 for the Aug. 24 Republican primary. In the first three months of the year, Ben Quayle raised $553,000. The next-biggest money-raiser collected $320,000.

Dan Quayle represented Indiana in Congress for 12 years in the 1970s and 1980s before becoming President George H.W. Bush’s vice president.

Candidate Quayle is also drawing on his dad’s other connections. His donor list includes A-list names from the nearly two decades his father was in government: former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, former White House Chief of Staff John Sununu, former Transportation Secretary Sam Skinner, former Sen. Warren Rudman and former Treasury Secretary John Snow.

Most of the Hoosier money ($22,650) came from the Evansville area. None of the donors is from northeast Indiana, the part of the state Dan Quayle represented in the House.

And the sign says

While illegally placed political signs weren’t prevalent in Fort Wayne this spring, they did exist.

The city reported that 25 complaints were issued between April 1 and May 5. Those complaints involved 112 signs, of which 45 were impounded and destroyed. The remaining signs weren’t on public property or were removed by their owners. The city doesn’t distinguish between political signs and other yard advertisements.

Signs in the city are not allowed to be placed in a public right of way, which for many homeowners is the grassy area between the street and the sidewalk.

The complaints weren’t overwhelming this year. Last year, the city received 29 sign complaints during the same time period, despite there being no election. To report a sign, call 311.

Washington Editor Sylvia Smith and Amanda Iacone of The Journal Gazette contributed to this column.

To reach Political Notebook by e-mail, contact Benjamin Lanka at blanka@jg.net or Niki Kelly at nkelly@jg.net. To discuss this entry of Political Notebook or others, go to the Political Notebook topic of “The Board” at www.journalgazette.net.