This blog reports events and interesting tidbits from Rensselaer, Indiana and the surrounding area.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Primary elections are Tuesday (Updated)

Update: The Jasper County results can be downloaded from the Jasper County Clerk's site.

We have a primary election on Tuesday. Four years ago the Democratic primary looked more interesting than the Republican primary because there was still a race between Clinton and Obama. This year the Republican primary looks more interesting because there is a race between Lugar and Mourdock, and because there are more state and county offices that are being contested.

The Lugar-Mourdock contest will be the one attracting national attention. I have seen reports that Lugar is ahead as well as reports that Mourdock is ahead. Lugar has served six terms in office and is 80 years old. I think it is unfortunate that he did not bow out, but politicians of both parties seem unable to let go of office no matter how old they are.

There is a contest for U.S congressman on the Democratic side between Tara Nelson and Lester Moore to face Todd Rokita. Jasper County no longer is in the congressional district with Lake and Porter counties.

State Representative Douglas Gutwein is being challenged by Diana Boersma. It it hard to figure out why she is running from her campaign ads and her statement in the Primary Profiles that the Rensselaer Republican ran, but the underlying issue seems to be the right-to-work law, a law that bans companies from requiring employees to join a union as a condition for work. She apparently opposes this law, which Gutwein supported. It is ironic that she quotes Ronald Reagan in her ads because she is running to the left of Gutwein.

On the Democratic side, Richard Ludington and John "the man" Malan are candidates. ((The second name is from the official list of candidates.)

The most interesting races on the ticket may be the county elections. The county has three commissioners who form the executive branch, and seven members of the county council who form the legislative branch. Four of the council members represent geographical area and there is no mention of any of them on the list of candidates. Six people are running for the three at large positions on the Republican side. I have commented previously on the county tax issue, so I was interested in seeing what they had to say about it. (See the post here, which has links to some previous posts.)

Gerritt DeVries is presently on the council and his main issue is the tax. "In talks with many, the biggest issue is total disgust with the state's second highest county income tax....The income tax structure implemented in 2008 will automatically increase each year to 3.75 percent unless the county council deliberately votes to change this. John Price and I have pledged to do so." And in response to why voters should support him, he replies, "So that I continue in this fight for income tax justice. Giant corporations should not get property tax subsidy from income taxes taken from your paychecks, nor should those property tax credits give more actual dollars to those in higher assessed homes than yours, as percentage based credits automatically do. Property owners not living and working in Jasper County should not be sharing in our property tax credits. That's what happening and it stinks."

He could not be any clearer that for him the tax issues is the issue we should be paying attention to.

John Price is another incumbent who dislikes the current tax structure. He says the biggest issue facing Jasper County is "[t[he very high county income tax hurting job and tax base growth, which eventually will lead to higher taxes for everyone."

The third incumbent, Charles Hamstra, talks in generalities: "The issues facing the county are taxes as well as economic growth and the development role of the county and government."  "My intention is to stay focused on the issues that are important to the citizens of Jasper County." What does that mean?

Larry Kosanovich has a clear position on taxes, and it is that the present structure is good: "I am committed to a fair and equitable tax system for all Jasper County tax payers. What does this mean? It means leaving the tax structure the same."

Andrew Andree hints that he agrees more with DeVries and Price than with Kosanovich: "Probably the biggest issue in our county is the income tax issue. I am hoping to explore some ways that the board can lower our county income taxes and promote business as an economic engine.

Finally, Linda Comingore says that she is "well aware of the role and effect of both income taxes and property taxes on individuals and businesses." I am not sure what that means in terms of whether she is comfortable with the present structure of taxes or not.

It should be an interesting election. But most of them are.

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