On the 9th of May 2011 I wrote a blog post entitled "The Indiana State Legislature is Hurting Us All." Unfortunately, the reason for that post continues to hold. It almost seems as though the Indiana State Legislature has it out for its citizens.
The tyranny of the Indiana state government is even more clear to me after having moved to a state that has likely one of the best state governments currently. Take the budgets as an example. Indiana made a few wise choices to help its finances (such as consolidating prison food purchasing), but many of the decisions have and will hurt the state (cuts to education, illegally cutting family planning, etc). In contrast, Minnesota has a balanced budget and did so while still investing in the state. With a few common sense tax reforms (including a new income tax bracket in a time of increasing income inequality which makes economic sense), smart cuts, and investments in schools and jobs Minnesota was able to balance its budget. It's budget also resulted in a credit outlook upgrade, which had been downgraded due to the tricks former Republican Governor Pawlenty had used to create the appearance of a balanced budget.
The current Minnesota state government got to the position it is now though because it recognized the utter mismanagement the state's Republicans had caused (such as the credit downgrade I previously mentioned). The Republicans also made a huge overreach - namely the voter suppression and marriage discrimination ballot amendments. This had terrified me on election night, but it turned out that Minnesota's voters had recognized the damage these would cause and rejected both. The voter's also showed how tired they were of Republican mismanagement and overreach, and handed the state back to the Democrat-Farmer-Labor Party for the first time in 22 years.
Being in Minnesota gives me hope about Indiana. An Indiana government that would actually work for Hoosiers would make the state a model for the nation. Not perfect, but a solid step in the right direction. Hoosiers should not surrender Indiana to those who would do the state harm. Indiana is worth fighting for, and I have seen that. I saw it in the West Lafayette City Council Chambers when the city's Human Relations Ordinance was expanded. I saw it when Hoosiers rejected Republican Senate candidate Murdock's anti-woman, rape-culture laden statements and voted instead for Democratic Senator Donnelly. I saw it at Purdue, which I predict will one day be the most LGBTQ friendly school in the Big Ten (even if it was robbed of the academic president it should have). I see it in the reaction against the non-academic president at Purdue.
Indiana has the chance to start working for Hoosiers instead of against them, and I have hope that Hoosiers will fight for it. That chance, oddly enough, comes from some of the same Republican overreach that occurred in Minnesota - a marriage discrimination amendment.
Today, Freedom Indiana was formed. This group will work to defeat the marriage discrimination amendment. This is a chance for Hoosiers to take back the state. To send the message that enough is enough. Please, sign the petition, like them on Facebook, and start laying the groundwork to take back the state. A number of issues could lead to the take back (such as the education system fraud/corruption), and I think this one holds that potential.
Now I should get back to helping to preserve Minnesota's regional heritage (blog post, article 1, article 2 on that).