Hand Over The Cash: Pay No Attention To That Man Behind The Curtain

MoneyhandoutShine up your best pair of shoes: It's time once again to make a big to-do about handing out Toll Road hush money lease proceeds to local governments.

Heck, maybe it we do it with tremendous pomp and style, people, especially those in the Toll Road counties, will completely forget that this is short-term cash from a long-term deal. Or maybe not.

"The latest distribution of Toll Road lease dollars drew mixed reactions from St. Joseph County officials Tuesday.

"'No matter what kind of face they put on it, the burden is on the seven (Toll Road) counties. We're footing the bill,' said St. Joseph County Commissioners President Steve Ross, D-2nd.

"Ross was responding to an announcement by state Auditor Tim Berry that the state is distributing $75 million to communities in all 92 Indiana counties that is the proceeds from the leasing of the Indiana Toll Road to a foreign consortium.

"The distribution is the second and last of two such $75 million payouts from the state, the first having occurred in October 2006.

"The payments are on top of the $40 million paid last year to St. Joseph and other Toll Road counties out of the $3.8 billion the state received from the lease."

The oddest part of this story?

"County Commissioner Mark Dobson, R-1st, agreed that some of the counties along the Toll Road might have 'a bit of heartburn' over the distribution formula, but said it is necessary to look at the benefits derived from the Toll Road lease.

"Dobson said St. Joseph County is second only to Marion County as a Toll Road lease beneficiary, getting funding for the U.S. 31, Indiana 23 and Indiana 331 (Capital Corridor) projects.

"Because of those projects, St. Joseph County will receive $500 million that Steuben County will not, said Dobson, adding that Steuben officials 'would love to have Governor Daniels sign the check that he's signing for ours.'"

So, Mark, you have no problem with the fact that St. Joseph County, where the Toll Road is located, is getting less money than Marion County, where there is no Toll Road? Huh. Cuz it sure seems like other people up there -- the people who've been paying to drive on the road all these years -- might be a wee bit ticked to see profit from their asset sent to other parts of the state.

Statewide Races: Some Ink For Those Seeking The Lesser-Known Offices

Horserace1_2The Fort Wayne Journal Gazette continues its series looking at those seeking statewide office this year. Today's installment focuses on the race for State Auditor between current State Treasurer Tim Berry and Vigo County Commissioner Judy Anderson. Insiders will recall that the Guv and his cronies tapped Berry, who's apparently trying to be the first Hoosier in history to hold as many of the lesser-known statewide offices as possible, over Marion County Clerk Doris Anne Sadler, who really wanted to run for Auditor. The only thing more entertaining than inter-party sparring is intra-party sparring.

About the two folks actually on the ballot this year:

"The state auditor’s office might not be sexy, but it's in charge of some essential duties.

"The winner of the fall election will pay the state's employees; funnel tax dollars to counties, cities, towns and schools; maintain official accounting records for billions of state dollars; and keep current on the state’s bills.

"'They are important functions,' said Fort Wayne Republican Tim Berry, who is running against Democrat Judy Anderson of Vigo County.

"Berry, 45, has been state treasurer for eight years and is prohibited by the Indiana Constitution from seeking a third consecutive term. That’s why he – with Gov. Mitch Daniels’ endorsement – decided to run for the state’s other financial office, auditor.

"Anderson, 66, has spent recent years serving in county government. She is in her second term as Vigo County commissioner and previously spent four years on the Vigo County Council. In the private sector, she has worked at a bank and the accounting department of a telephone directory company."

Your CEO Once Flew Over Indiana? Welcome To Official Indiana Company Status

Cash2_1Blanket apologies for the slow posting this morning. TDW's brain is overloaded. And she's working on quite possibly the slowest computer ever made.

Anyway, it looks like State Treasurer Tim Berry has decided to use the Guv's definition of an Indiana company with respect to the investment of the Toll Road proceeds. Love those ever-changing rules. From the South Bend Tribune:

"Berry said 72 percent of the investments, or $2.17 billion, are with Indiana investment managers or accounts.

"His definition of Indiana firms includes large banks whose corporate headquarters are in other states, such as Key Bank and Wells Fargo Bank. But Berry said it is fair to call them Indiana firms based on their Indiana employment, taxes and loans."

A Berry That Doesn't Crunch: Treasurer To Headline Skyline Club Networking Event

Timberry_1Don't all run out to get your tickets today, but State Treasurer Tim Berry is speaking at the Skyline Club next week. For those of you who aren't familiar with Tim, he's been Treasurer for seven years, but he hasn't had enough of statewide service. He's running this year to become State Auditor. Because once you pop, you just can't stop.

Here's the info on Tim's sure-to-be-enthralling appearance at one of Indy's toniest venues:

"Making the connection for you

"Wednesday, April 12th
7 a.m. Breakfast & Networking
Program begins at 7:30 a.m.
$5 Members, $10 Guests

"Tim Berry, Indiana's 51st State Treasurer will be speaking on various aspects of his role in State Government."

If you don't want to pay $10 to hear Tim speak, but you want to check out quite possibly the most jarring color scheme for a campaign website in the history of campaign websites, clickety here.

What If You Made A Political Announcement And No One Cared?

State Treasurer Tim Berry announced today that he will run for state auditor next year.  And the crowd went wild.

This really isn't much of a story.  Unless, of course, you're outgoing (by chance, choice or incompetence) Marion County Clerk Doris Anne Sadler.  Berry's already sealed up Gov. Mitch Daniels' endorsement, which pretty much makes him the Republican candidate.  (We'll see how statewide politics shakes out next year, what with mid-term elections, Daniels' well deserved reputation for arrogance and corruption all around on the federal level.  There's a decent shot for Democrats to steal a statewide office or two.)

Sorry, Doris Anne.  Looks like you got punk'd.  Better dust off that resume.

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