He and the Indiana Economic Development Corp. want at least $12 million over two years for a "deal-closing" fund that would allow them to hand out cash as they try to lure fast-growing companies to the state.
But flexibility, while prized by the private sector, often is at odds with oversight prized by the public sector.
"There's a lot of potential for abuse. A lot of them do seem like slush funds," said Philip Mattera, research director at Good Jobs First, a Washington policy group that often has criticized government incentives for corporations.
Debate over such a fund in Indiana is likely to kick off next week as a Senate committee takes up Senate Bill 536, which would create the High-Growth Business Incentive Grant and Loan Program.
The notion that Indiana isn't doing enough in this area is a complete absurdity. Plenty of recent deals have been made with businesses that involved mass infusions of public subsidies where essentially Indiana outbid competing states to lure prospective new businesses. Legislators need to understand that Gov. Daniels, while he was a former executive at Eli Lilly, has no real business experience. At Lilly, he was essentially a highly-paid, top level lobbyist who used his political ties to win favorable governmental action for the pharmaceutical industry. The economic development team he now has on board without Mickey Mauer's presence is also devoid of any real business experience. They're just like kids in a candy store who don't know when to stop.