By Dave Stafford, Herald Bulletin Staff Writer
PENDLETON — Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels took a break from announcing some new Hoosier jobs on Wednesday to tell a Madison County crowd how the state is fighting back after taking plenty of blows from the recession.
“Indiana is widening its competitive edge” compared with other states, he told an invitation-only crowd of about 150 at the Pendleton fire station. “Everything we have tried to do is aimed at making Indiana distinctive.”
Daniels’ presentation included slides showing the state’s positive ranking in business-friendly categories such as taxes and the costs of doing business.
“We’re the best in the Midwest for low taxes,” he said. “We’re sixth nationally in the cost of doing business.”
The governor’s Pendleton stop was sandwiched between job-creation announcements. In Kokomo, he announced that the information technology firm Zuma Inc. would add 400 information technology jobs by 2012. Daniels left Pendleton for
Huntington, where he said Canadian firm Onward Manufacturing Company will locate its first U.S. barbecue grill production center, creating more than 300 new jobs by 2011.
“Days like this prove that preserving a low-tax, pro-business environment is the best way to fight our way out of this national recession,” Daniels said in a statement announcing the jobs.
A third of the jobs Indiana has created during the recession have come from firms consolidating operations and choosing to move jobs from higher-cost locations, he said. “We have a competitive edge over those other places.”
Daniels also took questions and offered views on the following topics:
* Climate change: “I’m an agnostic,” he said. In response to a question on his view of cap-and-trade legislation that would penalize carbon-dioxide-emitting power plants, he said, “if we did what they want us to, it wouldn’t budge the world’s thermometer. ... To me it’s a very misguided response.” He also said states like Indiana, powered largely by coal, would be bear the brunt of costs. “A poor America will not be a green America,” he said.
* Healthy Indiana Plan: Daniels said the “consumerist” health care benefit for low- and moderate-income Hoosiers had extended health-care opportunities to more than 50,000 families, and could aid more if federal caps on coverage were removed. “This is a model that empowers people and trusts people to make decisions about their health,” he said.
After his Q&A; session, Daniels was asked about possible presidential aspirations. The Republican’s name is frequently in the conversation, despite his insistence that he has no intention of running.
“No,” he said. “There’s only one way you can spell it.”
Contact Dave Stafford: 648-4250, firstname.lastname@example.org
Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels’ visit to Pendleton on Wednesday was facilitated by Town Council President Don Henderson, who said the appearance was meant to thank Daniels for two future projects funded with state and federal money. They are:
* Roundabout: A project to cut down a hill and build a roundabout in the intersection of Indiana 38 and County Road 300 West, between Pendleton Heights middle and high schools.
* Drainage: A project to drain about 1,000 acres on the town’s west end that will require no retention ponds.