Not-my-man Mitch has announced that the state has a 2+ billion dollar surplus, and that he plans to return 100. to each taxpayer.
Let me see if I have this right: Indiana has shitty transportation, neglected parks, and substandard schools. We have a Department of Childrens Services that is so understaffed that children are literally dying. Services have suffered while public servants have been furloughed and fired. But rather than apply the surplus to any of these purposes, Daniels proposes to send each of us taxpayers a refund sufficient to buy a nice dinner.
John Gregg and Vi Simpson reacted strongly–and appropriately– to the Governor’s announcement, pointing out that a significant part of the “surplus” Daniels is bragging about includes money that should have been spent by DCS on programs to protect children.
Between 2007 and 2011, DCS returned more than 234 million dollars to the state’s general fund. During that same time period, the Indianapolis Star found at least 25 Hoosier children had died even though DCS had been notified of abuse or other severe problems in their families. Gregg told of one 12-year-old boy who was beaten to death on the very same day that DCS closed its investigations into allegations that the boy was the victim of neglect and abuse. He also noted that the Department has stopped its previous practice of providing mental health services to families with children who pose a threat to themselves or others.
For years, child advocacy organizations have echoed the Star’s conclusion that the agency has too few caseworkers and is underfunded, but miraculously, it had $234 million dollars “left over” to return to the state’s general fund.
Guess what, Governor Daniels? I don’t want a refund. I want to live in a state with a reasonable quality of life. I want to live in a state with a decent educational system. And I definitely want to live in a state that takes its obligation to protect defenseless children seriously.
I can buy my own damn dinner.