Opponents of tax breaks for a local company partly owned by Allen County Commissioner Nelson Peters tried to get the incentives killed last week by insinuating the deal stunk of favoritism.
Peters, however, said such accusations are void of fact. On Tuesday, the Fort Wayne City Council delayed granting a tax abatement to Calico Precision Molding after questions were raised about the companys performance.
Labor supporters also questioned how people couldnt be upset that one government would give tax incentives to a company partly owned by an executive of another government. Peters was listed as owning 10 percent of the company, according to the tax abatement filing.
There is very little faith that this is anything more than an insiders game, said Tom Lewandowski, president of the Northeast Indiana Central Labor Council, AFL-CIO.
Peters on Wednesday, however, said he hadnt heard any concerns about the abatement until being contacted by The Journal Gazette. He said he hasnt spoken to a single member of the citys administration or council about the proposal.
I purposely stayed away from that entire debate, he said. I didnt even want the slightest specter of conflict of interest.
Whether Peters could have even influenced the city if he wanted is another question.
The two governments have not always had the best working relationship.
More than policy
Last weeks lieutenant governor debate at the Indiana State Fair wasnt all serious talk about the future of agriculture.
Libertarian Brad Klopfenstein quickly made a lighthearted promise on behalf of him and his running mate, Rupert Boneham.
Youve heard a lot of promises in the past from politicians whove said outlandish things they cant possibly own up to, Klopfenstein said, but I will tell you right now, under a Boneham/Klopfenstein administration, with the record heat and record drought weve had this year – I promise less heat, more rain.
Later, Democrat Vi Simpson promised she is a friend to agriculture.
I eat pork, she said. And rib-eye.
Republican Sue Ellspermann consistently stayed on message.
She proved she understands the extent agriculture affects Indianas economy in her opening statement about growing up in a small town of 2,200 in Ferdinand, where her parents ran a jewelry store.
Heres what I learned about farming every year. If the farmers dont have a good year we wont have a good year, she said.
Couldn’t be closer
The race for the open U.S. Senate seat continues to be a tossup, according to the latest poll results.
A poll released last week by the Indiana Chamber of Commerce showed a statistical dead heat between Republican Richard Mourdock and Democrat Joe Donnelly, with 17 percent of voters undecided.
Mourdock enjoys a slight lead over Donnelly, 41 percent to 39 percent (within the surveys margin of error); 3 percent support Libertarian candidate Andrew Horning.
The scientific public opinion poll of 600 registered voters statewide was conducted by Market Research Insight in early August. It has a margin of error of 4 percent and used live interviewer telephone surveys for accuracy.
When poll respondents were asked to identify their political affiliations, results were 46 percent Republican and 38 percent Democrat, with 16 percent identifying as independents.
As typical, both Democrats and Republicans are relatively polarized, favoring the candidate for their party, said Verne Kennedy, senior analyst for Market Research Insight. The 16 percent of Indiana voters who say they are completely independent will likely determine the outcome of the Senate race.
While the Senate race is too close to call, the contest for the next Indiana governor isnt exactly a nail-biter
Republican Mike Pence holds a large lead over Democrat John Gregg – 50 percent to 32 percent – according to a poll released Thursday by the Indiana Chamber of Commerce.
Libertarian Rupert Boneham has 3 percent support. And 15 percent of respondents are still undecided in that race.
The poll was commissioned by the Indiana Chamber of Commerce and its political action program, Indiana Business for Responsive Government.
Pence on feds
If elected governor, Republican Mike Pence – a six-term congressman – would use state tax dollars to fight federal micromanagement.
In a speech last week before the Marion Rotary Club, Pence talked about the need for Indiana to push back on the fast-growing tide of federal regulations and programs that hinder Hoosier businesses and cost Hoosier taxpayers more money.
We dont need the federal government to tell us how to build our roads, run our schools or take over our health care systems, he said. We need a governor who will say no to Washington, D.C., and yes to Indiana.
Pence wants to establish an office of federalism called the Office of State-based Initiatives. It will advocate for Indiana by tracking the costs of federal mandates and coordinating with agencies to develop innovative solutions to effectively using federal dollars.
The office will be created at no additional cost to taxpayers by re-tasking the current Office of Federal Grants and Procurement to oversee the states federalism priorities.
That office seeks to maximize the amount of federal money state government brings back to Indiana. Its annual budget is $82,578.
Indiana must take the lead in stemming the flood of federal mandates that stifle Hoosier ingenuity in finding solutions to public policy problems, Pence said.
Democratic opponent John Greggs campaign criticized the renaming of the state office, saying it was created to improve Indianas rank in bringing back federal funds – not to fight ideological battles.