Unions Say Choice Of Daniels For State Of The Union Response Is Scary

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The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees and the AFL-CIO say that the GOP's choice of Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels to deliver the official Republican response to the State of the Union should be scary and that it is a sign that Republicans are going all-in on so-called 'right-to-work' laws in 2012. AFSCME released a video Tuesday highlighting the reasons people should be scared of Daniels, including:

  • Mismanagement of the budget as its director under George W. Bush, where the U.S. went from a surplus of nearly $130 billion to a deficit of more than $375 billion
  • As governor of Indiana, he auctioned off toll roads in the state, leading to massive increases in cost of driving on Indiana's roads
  • His current drive to enact 'right-to-work' for less legislation in Indiana

    AFL-CIO makes the case that the choice of Daniels is a warning to unions everywhere that the party plans to make the passage of 'right-to-work' for less laws a top priority in 2012:

    Daniels is a key backer of right to work for less (RTW) legislation which state Republican lawmakers, in a stunning display of arrogance, have repeatedly tried to ram through, while thumbing their noses at working Hoosiers–not to mention democracy.

    Democratic state house lawmakers yesterday left the legislature to protest moves by the Republican majority, especially the refusal to allow Democrats to offer a vote making RTW a referendum, so that the people of Indiana would vote on it directly.

    ...

    “We wanted the vote to be up or down,” said House Minority Leader Patrick Bauer (D). “The Republican Party wanted to skip the people completely, skip the election process and then skip the referendum process on whether or not you can have this bill, which many consider a ‘right to work for less’ — less pay, less safety less health care.”

    Republican state House Speaker Brian Bosma is fining 33 House Democrats $1,000 each per day for every day they are not in the legislature.

    Throughout the week, Hoosiers have packed the statehouse to protest being locked out of the democratic process. Since convening this month, Republicans in control of the House have:

  • Cut off testimony on the “right to work” for less bill so the committee wouldn’t have to listen to the truth.
  • Turned off the chamber sound system so the public cannot hear the proceedings.
  • Attempted to lock the public out of the statehouse, before nationwide attention forced the Republican majority to open the doors.
  • Indiana isn't the only state where Republicans are assaulting working families by pushing right-to-work for less laws. Idaho and New Hampshire have also been battleground states on this issue in recent months.

    Via press release, the Indiana Democratic Party just sent out a 'greatest hits' of the terrible job Daniels has done as governor:

  • Mitch Daniels opposed the 2008 rescue of the automakers, calling it “fiat government” and joining Tea Party State Treasurer Richard Mourdock in a lawsuit attempting to stop the rescue of Chrysler. [Indianapolis Star, 11/12/08; Keeping the Republic]
  • Daniels raised sales taxes, and proposed increases on individuals, non-profits, and corporations, including a tax on earners of more than $100,000 per year. [AP , 3/8/11; 2005 State of the State; Politico, 4/28/11; Fort Wayne Journal Gazette, 2/5/10]
  • Daniels required $1.2 Billion in federal stimulus funds to keep Indiana’s budget balanced. [Fort Wayne Journal Gazette, 2/20/11]
  • Even as he accepted federal education stimulus money, Daniels cut more than $300 million from Indiana’s public schools. [NWI Times, 12/16/09]
  • Daniels was the architect of George W. Bush’s budgets, leading the march from a $236 Billion annual surplus to $400 Billion in deficits. [Washington Monthly, 2/27/11]
  • Daniels privatized Indiana’s Family and Social Services Administration, causing thousands of Hoosiers to mistakenly lose access to benefits while firms that gave the Governor nearly $200,000 in campaign contributions made millions in state contracts. [Los Angeles Times, 6/24/11]

    “Mitch Daniels picked a bad time to raise his national profile,” said Dan Parker, chairman of the Indiana Democratic Party. “Indiana’s unemployment rate has climbed higher than the national average. His opposition to the auto rescue could have cost Indiana more than 147,000 jobs. He flip-flopped on Right-to-Work legislation. And his attempts to brand himself a fiscal conservative have been called stunningly fraudulent. I don’t know what will be in the Governor’s response tonight, but must be awfully short, because he sure can’t talk about his record.”

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