Screw You Guys, I'm Going Home: Guv's Tax Plan Irks Biz Leaders

NotlisteningAfter months of catering to and mooching off the biz crowd, it would appear the Guv has decided he no longer needs the only folks who've stuck by his side through all the leasing, privatizing and outsourcing of state government over the past three years.

The Star's John Ketzenberger writes his column today about reaction to the Guv's tax plan from those who thought they had a hand in the decision-making process:

"Hours before Gov. Mitch Daniels unveiled his sweeping property tax relief plan Tuesday, two business leaders told him it wouldn't fly.

"The governor didn't heed their warning.

"So Daniels faces static from a business community that is often among his staunchest supporters and now feels it's being taken for granted.

"'The governor threw the package out there. Now we're all going to roll around in the street and fight over it and see what comes of it,' said Pat Kiely, president of the Indiana Manufacturers Association.

"Critics quickly emerged. School administrators hate the proposed referendums. Local government officials aren't keen to eliminate township assessors.

"Still, the strong reaction by business leaders was surprising. Indiana Chamber of Commerce President Kevin Brinegar called the different property tax caps for homeowners and businesses 'deal breakers.'

"'We emphasized that point with the governor,' Brinegar said. 'We sent over our board-approved opposition to the circuit breakers to show that it wasn't just staff opposing this.'

"Daniels' decision doesn't sit well with the two most influential business lobbyists who also represent a wide swath of the state's industry. Kiely and Brinegar find it hard to fathom how Daniels, an ex-Lilly executive with strong business ties, would put it to them this way.

"That Daniels knew of their displeasure makes it worse."

Obviously, and with respect to all the plans on the table, we're in the process of making an omelette. Eggs will be broken. But it's interesting to note that the Guv's definition of listening goes something like this: Come closer. Tell him what you think. Prepare to be ignored.

It's also interesting that the Guv brought business leaders into his closed-door circle, but he didn't really involve anyone at the legislative level. You know, the people who will end up actually massaging the details of his plan into their own creation.

Cleanup Crew: Goode Meets With Lake County Sheriff To Discuss Landfill

SewagemonsterJust a quick P.S. to last week's post about the Guv meeting with Lake County Sheriff Roy Dominguez to broker a deal with respect to a controversial local landfill. The Guv didn't actually meet with Dominguez. He sent his chief of staff, who, in turn, sent this follow-up letter to Dominguez:

Dear Sheriff Dominguez,

Thank you for taking time to travel to Indianapolis to discuss the environmental concerns surrounding the Feddeler Landfill in Lowell. Our meeting was productive and I'm pleased that everyone pledged continuing efforts to strengthen our relationship.

Governor Daniels and the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) share your concern for public safety at and around the landfill. Since 2004, IDEM has regularly monitored and tested the ground water to determine if pollution is escaping from the site. The results, along with tests conducted by the United State Environmental Protection Agency, show the landfill is not harming surface or ground water, nor is it releasing toxic gas.

Based on this scientific data, it is very important that your office and the state agree that the landfill does not pose a public health threat. Additional work on the protective cap is underway to make the site even safer. To further assure Lake County residents, additional testing will be done under conditions similar to when the county's contractor identified possible toxic gas.

Please let Lake County residents know that IDEM and the Indiana Attorney General instituted a civil action, in 2006, against the landfill's owners to force compliance with requirements for capping and monitoring the site. IDEM will continue to lead efforts to monitor the site and pursue financial damages against the owners.

Again, thank you for taking time to work with us to resolve apparent misunderstandings. We look forward to continued progress and welcome your support of IDEM's efforts to properly close the landfill. I trust you will let us know of any concerns or questions you may have.

Sincerely,

Earl A. Goode
Chief of Staff

Some local insight into this situation would be much appreciated, since it seems like Dominguez, the Guv and the Indiana Department of Environmental Management are all on completely different pages.

Deal Or No Deal: Sallie Mae Fallout May Cost Goode A Few Million

QuestionguyTDW neglected to pick up this Indiana Daily Insight tidbit late last week:

"The aborted sale of Sallie Mae (for what would have been $25.3 billion) may cost a top Daniels Administration official a few million dollars . . ."

The mystery official in question is the Guv's chief of staff, Earl Goode, and you can read more background about the deal here.

Goode Deal: Guv's Chief Of Staff To Net $3.3 Million From Sallie Mae Buyout

E_goodeHat tip to Indiana Daily Insight for picking up this story involving the Guv's chief of staff, who's slated to rake in $3.3 million from the Sallie Mae buyout. Remember who's making the big bucks the next time you send in your monthly student loan payment.

"When the directors of Sallie Mae meet next week to consider a $25 billion offer to buy the student loan giant, they will be voting on a transaction that will benefit the company, and also themselves — significantly.

"A proxy filing by Sallie Mae with the Securities and Exchange Commission last month shows that the company’s directors will earn a total of about $370 million in profit if the sale of Sallie Mae to J.C. Flowers, Friedman Fleischer & Lowe, Bank of America and JPMorgan Chase goes through on August 15. The bulk of that money — almost $225 million — will go to Sallie Mae's chairman and former CEO, Albert L. Lord. (A list of the directors and the value of their shares appears below.)

"But some current and former higher education officials on the board will benefit handsomely as well, and to some observers, the significant sums going to Sallie Mae directors are symptomatic of larger questions raised by the sale of the mammoth lender, which had its roots as a quasi-governmental entity. Is it appropriate for a company that was built to a large extent through its connection to the federal government to profit so enormously as it has slowly shed those ties?

"'Sallie Mae was built to serve a public purpose, of providing student loans,' said Robert Shireman, executive director of the Project on Student Debt and a longtime observer of the student loan programs. 'It was set free and no one really knew whether the federal government got a good deal or not. This level of profiteering off the corporation suggests that ultimately the deal that was struck may well have undercompensated taxpayers.'"

For those who don't remember, the ethical nature of Goode's ties to Sallie Mae previously came up when he was Commissioner of the Department of Administration.

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