Published on February 5th, 2015 | by Todd Smekens0
Indiana Lawmakers are Hoarding Hoosier’s Money
NEWS – We’re enjoying the articles which applaud Governor Mike Pence’s honesty about overcharging Hoosiers $2 million through the Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV). That’s a lot of money that has been taken away from Hoosiers needlessly. In fact, according to the press release, the BMV has a history of overcharging:
The additional amount brings the total to more than $60 million that state officials have acknowledged since 2013 that the BMV overcharged Indiana motorists…The new overcharges cover a variety of charges, including penalties paid by drivers who later proved they had auto insurance, delinquent fees for mobile and manufactured home titles, excise taxes for antique vehicles and fees for off-road vehicles and snowmobile decals, according to the BMV.
At a time when more Hoosiers find themselves slipping into poverty, or becoming asset/income poor, as defined by United Way’s ALICE report, it doesn’t make sense for our government to be hoarding cash which belongs to us.
And, this brings us to the real point of the article – why isn’t the same “honesty” spotlight being used on the $2 billion hoarded by our state government?
What would our Libertarian Brothers Think
Governor Pence spends a lot of time speaking at the famous Libertarians, Charles and David Koch, political events. Can you imagine what these government hating Tea Partiers think about a state government overcharging its citizens by $2 billion and stashing it in a bank? Could you imagine the response of the Republican Party in Washington if President Barack Obama said he was going to overcharge Americans so he could build a surplus of cash?
You can almost hear the chanting about tyranny, can’t you?
Both the Bureau of Motor Vehicles and our statehouse, needs to return the money to its rightful owner – Hoosier taxpayers.
As taxpayers, we could use the extra dollars to make payments on credit cards, student loans, or buy goods and services from our fellow business owners in Muncie. When we buy goods and services from local business men and women, it increases demand on businesses causing them to hire more people to handle the extra workload. Demand is what economists and businesses say are missing from our economy since it was thrown into despair in 2008 by Wall Street’s reckless speculation and fraud.
Think about it this way, at the same time former Governor Daniels, and now Pence, cut taxes on their republican base of corporations and wealthiest Hoosiers, they were intentionally overcharging taxpayers and withholding government services.
Lawmakers receive lots of campaign donations from the private sector to get preferential treatment – tax cuts and deregulation. More ardent activists would say our private sector is bribing lawmakers to receive this kind of treatment, and we agree.
Where is the “free and independent press”, and why aren’t they screaming about this excessive hoarding of cash?
Maybe they are afraid the personal text messages from the governor might stop, or too busy fighting Governor Pence about his communication and news agency called JustIN. What is the IndyStar really scared about? More on that later…
Lawmakers Serve Hoosiers, They Don’t Rule
For a basic refresher, we contract with government officials when electing them to office. We don’t have time to manage our common interests, like maintaining roads and bridges, or hiring and supervising police and fire, so we hire them to carry out these service in good faith.
Our government then assesses, collects and spends our tax dollars on collective services. They decide how much it will cost to run government services, and then bill us through various forms of taxes. We, begrudgingly hand over our money. It’s really a contract based on good faith. All elected officials, appointed boards, department heads, etc., are all public servants. They serve us citizens – not rule over us.
None of us like parting with our hard-earned money, because we each have plenty of goods, services and debts, which we’d like to directly fund ourselves. There are many local businesses who’d like us to spend money within the community. If we all had an extra $20-40.00 a week, we might treat ourselves to crab cakes at Vera Mae’s Bistro in Downtown Muncie.
Some would argue that the budgeting process isn’t an exact science so our Governor merely overestimated what was needed to run the government. If that was the case, we’d agree and wouldn’t include the $2 billion cash reserve in this article.
Governor Uses Budget Gimmick
However, in talking with state department heads, they say the governor used a budget gimmick called reversions, which means our statehouse approved and allocated the money department heads asked for in their budgets, but the governor took it away from them. He literally said, “You cannot have the full amount allotted to your department.”
It “reverted” back to the state and the dollars went into a central bank account(s). We’re sorry, but if the governor decided the money wasn’t going to be used on government services, it should have been sent back to taxpayers. We already had a surplus created by Mitch Daniels and his appointed Treasurer, Richard Mourdock. Mourdock misplaced around $800 million which eventually became our surplus.
We’ve not heard or read any adequate justification for hoarding money that was taken from Hoosier taxpayers. Through mismanagement of funds and intentionally withholding government services, our Governor and state lawmakers are hoarding tax dollars.
Rep. Dan Forestal, D-Indianapolis, said this about the BMV – “I do not believe the agency can be trusted to oversee its own operations, unless you happen to believe that foxes are the best overseers of henhouses,” said Forestal, D-Indianapolis.
While our representative might be referring to the BMV, we believe it applies to all those “serving” us in Indianapolis at the present moment in time.