Brian Howey reports:
For the second consecutive year, the spring National Guard Supplemental Grant awards have been deactivated for Indiana Army National Guard service members in the various ROTC programs around the state. The reason? The state, despite its $2 billion surplus, has run out of money. At least that’s what one university ROTC student I was with learned just before Thanksgiving. The news sent this student into a mode where he needs to replace in the next week or so the promised $2,500 in grant money with . . . a student loan. This comes at a time when student loan debt has surpassed credit card debt in our nation. Now think about this for a minute: The state is reneging on a promise to future National Guardsmen and women to help fund their college educations. These are the Hoosier men and women who will be on the front lines of floods, tornadoes, civil disturbances, and who could end up making the ultimate sacrifice on a foreign battleground, as many Hoosier Guardsmen did in Iraq and Afghanistan. And the message we’re sending these public servant is … go get a loan? That’s not right.
So–we don’t have enough money to honor our commitment to kids who may well have to put their lives on the line for us. But we do have enough money to hire a couple of expensive private-sector lawyers to handle an ill-conceived bit of political theater: a lawsuit against the President for taking executive action on immigration. That action was well within President Obama’s legal authority, and immigration issues are specifically matters of federal–not state–jurisdiction. But even if that weren’t the case, courts of law are not where we resolve policy disputes, which is what this is, as even our culture-warrior Attorney General recognized when he refused to handle the case.
Yes, even our “sue culture change” Attorney General says this one is a bridge too far.
The Governor is running for President. He wants his (rabid, no-brown-people here) base to know that he’s one of them, and he’s willing to spend a lot of taxpayer dollars on a frivolous lawsuit he knows he can’t/won’t win, in order to get that message out.
Every one of these ridiculous cases costs real money. Even when the AGs staff is doing the work, that’s time they are taking away from the state’s business, and filing fees, etc., add up. According to the IBJ, the AGs office spent over $7,000 just for copying costs in the (entirely voluntary) same-sex marriage litigation that preceded Indiana’s own legal action.
Pence just can’t find the money to fulfill his promise to college students enrolled in ROTC, but dollars are endlessly available for empty, self-serving, political gestures.