Subject: Message from Indiana GOP Chairman, Murray Clark
To the Editor:
To say that the House Democrats fully abdicated their responsibility in the first phase of the special session would not be entirely accurate. They did in fact pass a budget. To the extent there is a minimum threshold, Speaker Bauer and his team barely met it.
A realist might ask, “Why does it matter? The Senate will write its own version anyway….” That’s indeed one way to view this; however, that discounts substantially the constitutional obligation the Indiana House of Representatives has in the budget writing process. Call me old-fashioned, but I think that is a responsibility which should be taken seriously. Thus, I think the House Democrats failed miserably in passing what could only be technically considered a budget for the state. One year of operations, completely out of balance, a $30 million dollar raid of our teacher’s pension fund, and a future tax increase a virtual certainty – this wasn’t much of a budget. What passed out of the Democrat-led House on a party line vote was a shallow effort. It was a disservice to Indiana.
The only thing I can suggest to Hoosiers, specifically those citizens who live in districts represented by a Democrat member of the House, is to call their Representative and ask why he or she has such little regard for our state that the Democrats would diminish their part of the process. It’s perfectly appropriate to ask Speaker Bauer and all 52 Democrat members why they think raiding our teachers’ retirement fund is good policy. It’s perfectly appropriate to ask why they are committed so strongly to a future tax increase that they would pass a spending plan that effectively would annihilate our reserves.
These are tough times that require leadership and commitment. We can and should all agree to put party labels aside to solve some of the most pressing problems we’ve seen in generations. Yet House Democrats seem focused only on politics. That may not be entirely the case, but I’m at a loss to explain this budget and the Democrat membership’s vote to pass it.
The process will move forward. I’m confident the Senate will do as Governor Daniels has done and put our state’s interests ahead of party and politics. It’s what Hoosiers deserve.
The Indiana Republican Party