Indiana closed out its last budget with more than $2 billion in reserves and an annual budget surplus of $100 million. Advocates who say the stockpile should be released from state coffers cried foul on hearing that Indiana was able to find so much money to put in savings.
Daniels and other state officials on Wednesday marked the early completion of payments on 10 state facilities by ceremonially burning the mortgage paperwork in a trash can outside the Statehouse.
Mitch Daniels is touting investments in Indiana's public employee pension funds during his last few months in office. Daniels said Thursday that $207 million will be invested in teacher pensions, along with $90 million toward judges' pensions and $32 million for police pensions.
The battle over Proposition 32 on the November ballot follows conflicts in Wisconsin, Ohio, Indiana and elsewhere where efforts to dilute the strength of organized labor have produced political tumult, a flood of TV ads and widespread demonstrations.
The commission voted 3-0, with two members absent, to approve a 15- year contract with Rhode Island- based GTECH that is expected to make $1.7 billion in profit over five years _ a $500 million increase over state projections. GTECH already provides and maintains vending machines for the Hoosier Lottery.
Indiana is the latest Midwestern state where Republicans have pushed though anti-labor legislation even as the efforts have drawn large protests by union backers and spawned recall efforts.