Political Notebook

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Daniels gives final Rotary speech

Gov. Mitch Daniels took time to review the highlights – and a few lowlights – of his administration during a speech before the Indianapolis Rotary Club Tuesday.

He has spoken to the group regularly, and it is where he first proposed the automatic taxpayer refund that will give all Hoosier taxpayers a $111 refund in 2013.

Daniels started the event with an obligatory dig at Illinois, discussing how a businessman in Chicago was impressed when Daniels gave him his personal cell phone number and email.

Another speaker at the same conference added, "here in Illinois when they give you the governor's cell number it means something different."

When reviewing his accomplishments going way back to 2005 Daniels pointed to "DST" on the slideshow.

"I try to forget daylight saving time but it was necessary," he said.

Daniels then talked about ethics reform before receiving a round of applause for improvements at the Bureau of Motor Vehicles.

"I hope you notice a little difference there," he deadpanned, adding Hoosiers used to have to bring a sack lunch and copy of War and Peace for a BMV visit.

Daniels described the 75-year lease of the Indiana Toll Road as converting the road into a regulated utility – for $3.8 billion. He also noted the state got overpaid and the company that leased it is losing money.

As to the controversial privatization of welfare intake? "The first attempt to fix the welfare system worked poorly…we owned up, cleaned up, took our lumps and now we have one of the best, most effective systems in the country."

During a question and answer session, he was asked about the new Democrat Superintendent of Public Instruction's affect on education reform.

He said she could throw a wrench in everything but hopes she doesn't.

"Superintendent (Glenda) Ritz is going to put her hand on a Bible and swear to uphold the laws of this state so I trust she will do that," Daniels said.