Outgoing Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels discusses failed measures of his 2 terms

'Commerce' road, privatized lottery among misses

INDIANAPOLIS - In eight years as Indiana's governor, Mitch Daniels talked lawmakers into approving a major portion of his program, but he didn’t always get what he wanted.

In the latest installment of RTV6's farewell interview with the governor, RTV6 Reporter Norman Cox talked with him about the ones that got away.

Two of the failures involved the lottery and downsizing local government.

Nearly three years ago, Daniels wanted to privatize the Indiana lottery.

He believed there was a bonanza of money to be made there, similar to what the state had taken in by leasing the toll road, and he wanted to devote it to higher education.

"In essence, a Major Moves deal in higher ed that would have given our state universities a lot of money to keep tuitions down and also some money to build their intellectual capital,” said Daniels.  “Didn't get that one done."

It didn't happen then largely because of legislative opposition. 

In the fall of 2012, the lottery did approve a deal to outsource its marketing and other functions to a private firm in anticipation of more revenue, but Daniels said this won't approach what he could have done earlier. 

"We have just done something similar with the lottery, and it's going to provide a much higher stream of revenue for the future," he said. "But nothing like that big opportunity that probably was there in 2006."

Daniels was also disappointed that he didn't achieve more in reforming local government. 

The legislature approved some of the elements of the Kernan-Shepard Commission, but not the most important ones that would have streamlined township government and eliminated many of the low-level positions that many see as a waste of money.

"We got a certain distance of the way there, but I was hopeful that we had built a bipartisan understanding of the need to do it that was a little stronger than it was," Daniels said.

Daniels didn't get that because of opposition from important lawmakers within his own party, who saw those township jobs as stepping stone positions many of them had held on their way to their current offices.

Daniels also failed to get his Indiana Commerce Connector, a loop road around Indianapolis farther out than Interstate-465 that would divert trucks and other traffic around the metro. 

Daniels recently expressed the hope that a governor will resurrect that plan sometime in the future when there's agreement on how to pay for it.

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