Today, the governor added five more names to the list of people who will sit on this commission and look at ways to reform property taxes and streamline local government. His choices for this task could not have been worse. He chose:
- Former Indiana Secretary of State Sue Anne Gilroy. She's a nice lady who dutifully served as Secretary of State for 8 years, but she now earns a living running a not-for-profit foundation. Hint to Gov. Daniels, NFPs don't pay taxes.
- Former IU President Adam Herbert. He is perhaps the worst university president at IU in recent memory. He has lived in Indiana but a short time and his experience is limited to drawing a huge public salary and spending lots of public funds. It hardly qualifies him for this task.
- Ian Rolland, a retired Lincoln Financial CEO. Other than meeting the certified list of Who's Who among Indiana elites, what does he bring to the commission?
- Louis Mahern, professional politician and lobbyist. He's also responsible for heading up our local library board, which has saddled taxpayers with tens of millions in costs for building an absolutely unnecessary central library. As Matt Tully once noted, he saw his role on the library board as taking care of Democrats with jobs and contracts. If there is any negative connotation you can associate with a career politician/lobbyist, Mahern is dripping with it.
- John Stafford, director of the Community Research Institute at IPFW. Stafford is probably the only person appointed to the Commission that has any substantive understanding of our property tax system. He also spent many years lobbying the legislature on these very issues. Does he offer any new approaches?
The makeup of this Commission leaves me to conclude that someone over at a certain law firm which seems to control every major decision of this administration sat down and drew up a list of people it could easily manipulate to write a report suited to its self-serving liking, faxed it over to Daniels' office and after glancing at it for a few brief moments, Gov. Daniels instructed Jan Jankowski to issue a press release announcing the names. Is that what really happened? Who knows? But, Gov. Daniels, you should know we are insulted by this narrow list of folks to whom you have assigned this great task. There's nobody on that commission who offers fresh thinking and the independence of judgment this task requires. Would you please just do this one thing? On this issue of such great importance, stop listening to the folks at that law firm and start listening to real folks who are capable of offering you advice untainted by a desire to serve their own self-interests. This issue is just too important.