30 April 2007

Statehouse Shenanigans

I'm back in the saddle...for now. Having been in Florida the past month has kept me out of the loop unfortunately. It was more of skimming the Star online and peeking at a blog here and there.

The budget passed late last night, beating the midnight deadline as required by law. The budget, to be signed by Governor Daniels does almost nothing to shrink the size and scope of the state government. The only thing guaranteed by the new budget is that the nanny state is strengthened and that individuality is shrank.

The budget passes a law increasing the cigarette tax by 44 cents per pack, in order to fund health insurance for those that can't afford it. While the idealist in me says it's ok...but it's nothing more than robbing Peter to pay Paul.

Who wants slots?? The horse tracks did, and they got them this time. 2,000 slot machines will go in to the two tracks in Shelbyville and Anderson, respectively. This bill was usually a hot-button issue, but with the gay marriage amendment on the table, the slot bill slid under the noses of most social conservatives.

Property tax relief?? Relief to me means cutting the tax or eliminating it...not raising it only to decrease it later, because it's still a net increase. The slots at the tracks will offset the increase in property taxes, so instead of a 24 percent increase, it will be ONLY eight percent or so.

Even seatbelts get on this, it's now required for all passengers to wear seatbelts in cars. Common sense if you ask me, but you can't teach stupid. I digress.

On a lighter note, the legislature passed one important measure: the official beverage of the state is now water.