Monday, January 23, 2006

Whom to Blame For the Health Care For Life Legislative Perk

The Indiana Law Blog has once again outdone itself in shedding light on the self-serving, health care for life perk which Indiana lawmakers gave themselves, their spouses, their children and even ex-spouses several years back. The Roll Call votes laying out how each lawmaker voted are now at your fingertips coutesy of the Indiana Law Blog. You can find out how lawmakers voted on all 8 roll call votes pertaining to various parts of the benefit here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here.

For those of you who don't want to take the time to analyze each of the roll call votes to figure out which lawmakers should be held accountable, we've taken the time do it for you. It really wasn't that hard to do since the vast majority of lawmakers serving from 2001 through 2003 voted in favor of the benefit.

Starting with the Senate, every single senator supported the original benefit, as well as the changes in the benefit which prohibited the House Speaker and the Senate President Pro Tem from revoking the benefit post-retirement once it is offered, and which allowed the legislature to tap a special state fund to pay the retirees health care benefits. Only one senator, Joe Zakas, voted against another change creating a special fund out of which to pay the retiree benefits without stating its true purpose.

Aside from Senate President Pro Tem Robert Garton and Senate Democratic Leader Richard Young, we would single out the Senate sponsors of the various bills for extra culpability. That list of currently serving senators includes Allen Paul (R), Mike Young (R), Marvin Riegsecker (R), Bob Jackman (R), Tom Wyss (R), Joe Harrison (R), Allie Craycraft (D), Vi Simpson (D), Luke Kenley (R), and David Ford (R).

Senator Vaneeta Becker (R) deserves special recognition among her colleagues in the Senate as a true friend of the taxpayers. While serving as a member of the House at the time these bills were voted on, she consistently joined a very small group in opposing the legislative perk.

On the House side, House Speaker Brian Bosma and House Minority Leader Pat Bauer are equally culpable for their consistent support for the various pieces of legislation from start to finish which created the perk. We would add to that list of currently serving House members who added their names as sponsors of the various bills for extra culpability. That list includes Craig Fry (D), Tom Kromkowski (D), Larry Buell (R), Vern Tincher (D), Mike Murphy (R), Dave Crooks (D), and Dale Grubb (D).

There are a few House members who we would be remiss if we did not single out for special recognition as true friends of the taxpayers. Representatives Jeb Bardon (D), Bob Bischoff (D) and Tom Saunders (R) cast numerous votes against the perk. Other House members had more mixed votes. Eric Turner (R) voted once against the creation of the original plan, but otherwise consistently cast votes in support of the perk once it was created. On final passage of the original legislation creating it, ten House members voted against the plan. Current members who voted against final passage included Bardon, Becker, Bischoff, Terry Goodin (D), Jack Lutz (R), Rich McClain (R), and Peggy Welch (D).

Except those noted above, all other incumbent House members serving between 2001-2003 are culpable for their unwavering support of the health care for life legislative perk. The list is too long to include here, but you can view the individual roll calls listed above.

Many lawmakers will not be happy to see this information disseminated to the public. If their opponents use their votes in support of this unnecessary legislative perk, you can bet that it will work to their advantage. Rest assured that some members of the General Assembly will not be returning next year because of their vote for the perk.


Anonymous said...

This is so disappointing and disgusting. Thanks for posting this information.

Anonymous said...

Typical politician behavior, riding on the backs of the working class who live paycheck to paycheck! Shame on these political hyenas.