Political Notebook


Stutzman nabs ‘dumbest’ honors

A remark by Rep. Marlin Stutzman, R-3rd, ranked high on RollingStone.com’s “50 Dumbest Things Right-Wingers Said in 2013.”

Stutzman received eighth place for his comment on the Republican Party’s position in negotiations to end the partial federal government shutdown in October.

“We’re not going to be disrespected,” Stutzman told the Washington Examiner. “We have to get something out of this. And I don’t know what that even is.”

Tim Dickinson, a writer for the politically left Rolling Stone, considered comments by House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio; former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush; 2012 presidential hopeful Rick Santorum; and four others as being worse than what Stutzman said. The list was posted Wednesday on the magazine’s website.

Santorum finished second for saying: “The middle class. Since when in America do we have classes? That’s Marxism talk.”

Nevada state Assemblyman Jim Wheeler ranked first for his response to a question on whether he would vote to reinstate slavery if his constituents wanted him to: “Yeah, I would.”

Naughty lawmakers

Americans for Prosperity announced last week the first of 10 members on its “naughty list” of state legislators.

The conservative group said these lawmakers will be lucky to get coal in their stockings this Christmas because of their votes or statements against economic freedom.

“This is our fun way of making sure Hoosiers know those state legislators who are working against the reforms and progress Hoosiers have enjoyed in this state over the last few years,” said Chase Downham, Indiana state director of Americans for Prosperity.

“However, we hope that this is the last time we see them and others on the ‘naughty list,’ ” he said. “Next year is a new opportunity to take a stand for the Hoosier taxpayer, worker, parent, and small-business owner. By saying ‘yes’ to economic freedom, they can move off the naughty list and get recognized instead for being a hero for the taxpayer.”

The so-called naughty legislators will be revealed on the group’s website every day for the first two weeks in December.

The first two inductees were Democrats Rep. Clyde Kersey and Sen. Tim Skinner, both of Terre Haute. Americans for Prosperity said the two voted against a major state income tax cut and a right-to-work law.

“These two state legislators have stood in the way of progress in the Hoosier state,” the release said.

But it’s not just Democrats in the crosshairs of the group, which annoyed some Republicans with its hard-ball tactics during the income tax debate last session.

Two GOP House members have been added – Rep. Ron Bacon, R-Chandler, and Rep. Tom Saunders, R-Lewisville.

Bacon voted against school choice and right-to-work, as well as supported a mass transit proposal, the group said.

And Saunders – long a moderate voice in the House Republican caucus – was dinged for his school choice stance and not supporting an income tax cut.

It’s where?

If you are a Hoosier interested in tracking education policy, you have a new website to follow.

After decades of having all information related to the State Board of Education on the Indiana Department of Education site, the board’s agendas, meeting times and more have migrated.

Its new home is on the Indiana government website www.in.gov/sboe.

The Center for Education and Career Innovation – created administratively by Gov. Mike Pence – is now staffing the board and has taken over responsibility for its online presence.

Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz still chairs the board and heads the Department of Education.

Assessor hopeful

Sam Walker, 33, a Democrat, announced his intention last week to run for Allen County assessor in 2014. Republican Stacey O’Day, the incumbent, says she’ll seek re-election.

According to his Facebook candidacy page, Walker was born and raised in Allen County, graduating from New Haven High School in 1998.

Walker has been involved in property assessments beginning in 2004, when he worked for former Allen County Assessor Pat Love. In 2007, he took a position as chief deputy for Wayne Township Assessor Bev Zuber, where he continues to work.

During his tenure, Walker became certified as an Indiana assessor-appraiser and tax representative. He earned two International Association of Assessing Officers professional designations as an Assessment Administration Specialist and a Residential Evaluation Specialist.

Accounting blunders

Democratic state auditor candidate Mike Claytor remembered a dark anniversary of sorts for Indiana state government last week.

Two years ago, Indiana made national news for finding $320 million in misplaced tax revenue. A few months later, the state also announced that it discovered $206 million in tax revenue that it owed to Indiana counties and other local units of government. That made more than half a billion dollars of accounting errors.

In his weekly financial blog, Claytor wrote, “with the news last week that Auditor Dwayne Sawyer is resigning, I feel more strongly than ever that we need more stability and accountability in Indiana government.”

Claytor would accomplish this by putting “audit” back in the auditor’s office, he said.

“The Auditor of State … should have the ability to determine whether funds posted are in the correct accounts. As Auditor of State, I would set up an internal audit function so that the internal control system over all state funds would be improved," Claytor said.

The errors that occurred largely involved the Indiana Department of Revenue.

“No internal control system can guarantee that there be no errors in the accounting system.

However, the state should implement controls to provide reasonable assurance that errors are detected to the extent practicable,” Claytor said.

He is still waiting to see who his opponent will be next year. Gov. Mike Pence is considering a replacement for Sawyer. Whoever is tapped will be the third Republican state auditor in six months.

No ordinary Joe

Fort Wayne City Council members have been chuckling lately over City Clerk Sandy Kennedy’s including attorney Joe Bonahoom in the roll call.

A fixture at every council meeting, Bonahoom sits across from Kennedy at the council table and next to the council president, so it seemed only natural to include him in the roll.

But Tuesday, Kennedy accidentally read his name as “Councilman Bonahoom.”

To which Tom Smith, R-1st, replied: “You demoted him!”

Dan Stockman of The Journal Gazette contributed to this column.

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