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Opening Arguments

Party lines

The Indiana Chamber of Commerce wants everybody in state government to just get along:

The Indiana Chamber of Commerce advocated bipartisanship Tuesday in the last of eight policy letters to the candidates for governor.

Chamber President Kevin Brinegar said working across party lines will be critical to achieving the education, energy, health care and tax issues to which the business group has sought to draw attention with its series of letters.

This all sounds very nice, but once those pesky party lines have been erased, then what?

At the state level, the chamber didn't have many positives to say about the bipartisan efforts of the past two years during which a GOP-controlled Senate and Democrat-led House combined to pass a balanced budget, expand health care for the working poor and pass a homeowner-slanted property tax overhaul. The chamber instead cited 1999 education reforms and a 2002 tax restructuring that ended the levy on business inventories as recent feats of political cooperation.

Ah. It isn't about bipartisanship at all, is it? It's just about the Chamber getting what it wants done through the legislature. Or it wants what it doesn't like to be stopped -- in a bipartisan way, of course -- such as any rules that might keep businesses from tapping into the pool of cheap illegal-immigrant labor. Me, I'm becoming a fan of gridlock. The more legislators "cross party lines," the more it seems to cost me.