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Opening Arguments

Business, as usual

The Indiana Chamber of Commerce  (pdf file) has issued its report on how the recent session of the General Assembly went on "issues important to business and the state's economy," and folks there don't seem too happy:

It was politics as usual -- with common sense often checked at the door.

Yes, a positive budget was passed but it took a special session at taxpayers' expense to get it accomplished. Meanwhile, the regular session saw frequent resistance and spinning of wheels.

[. . .]

Too much time and energy were also spent on bills that would increase the cost of doing business for Indiana companies and their employees; the good news is that the vast majority never saw the light of day. In fact, ALL 40 of the bills the Indiana Chamber labeled as job killers to start the session either met their demise or were positively altered.

The Chamber also rated all members of the General Assembly on their pro-business votes. From this area, Republican Reps. Matthew Bell (83rd) and Randy Borror (84th) scored the highest at 92 percent each for 2009 and 93 percent as a two-year average. Democrat Reps. Phil GiaQuinta of the 80th (44 and 38 percent) and Win Moses of the 81st (45 and 37 percent) fared the worst. The ratings show Democrats in general being more anti-business and Republicans more pro-business, just like the familiar stereotype.

One caveat: There is a tendency to equate "pro-business" with "conservative," and that's not always correct. The Chamber, for example, is very much in favor of local government reforms recommended by the Kernan-Shepard commission. But many conservatives consider those recommendations (mostly for consolidation) to amount to an unwise creation of bigger government.