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Oxley talks message of change

October 22, 2008
As Election Day nears, neither side in the Indiana gubernatorial race is blinking an eye or showing any sign of slacking off in a battle that has drawn close in the last couple of months.

In a recent Indianapolis Star/WTHR poll, the candidates were running a close race with the Republican incumbent team of Mitch Daniels/Becky Skillman at 46 percent and Democratic challengers Jill Long Thompson/Dennie Oxley at 42 percent. But smelling a chance to win, Long Thompson and Oxley have picked up momentum, giving speeches at every venue possible and making themselves available for interviews in hopes of taking their message of change to the voters.

"We're experiencing an economic crisis in this country," Oxley said in a recent interview at O'Bannon Publishing offices in Corydon. "Indiana is a part of that economic downturn. We have to make sure we're invested solidly. There's $700 million of Major Moves money invested in Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae. We have to be sure our investments are sound."

Privatization of government services and infrastructure has haunted the Daniels Administration since the toll road in the northern part of the state and social services were contracted to private companies, including some from other countries, he said.

"Under our administration, there will be no privatization contracts," Oxley said. "We're going to put a stop to this privatization madness. I will lead a bipartisan panel to review all the present contracts and determine our legal options."

Returning to the economy, Oxley said the Long Thompson/Oxley campaign is focused on the needs of Hoosiers.

"The economy and jobs are the most important issues in this election," Oxley said. "That is first and foremost on people's minds. To say there's nothing we can do about the economy is no way to lead. We need to send help to parts of the state where it is most needed.

"We need to place each county in one of three tiers — with the top tier needing the most help. To do that, we should look at the unemployment rate, the income and the assessed property value of each county. This would help us rank the counties. There are economic issues no matter where you are. It cuts across urban and rural areas.

"We have a 56-page plan to help us with the course we need to take. It's like a road map to turn Indiana around. We should give a tax break to businesses for every new job they create. Only 34 percent of small businesses in Indiana offer health care benefits to their employees. We need for the rest to come together, create a bigger pool which would make them able to negotiate a better rate."

Oxley then addressed jobs, of which Indiana has suffered a loss during the last several months.

"There's a lot of disappointment in the Daniels Administration," Oxley said. "Indiana has lost over 64,000 jobs. We now have the highest rate of unemployment in 24 years. Indiana is leading in personal bankruptcies. Business bankruptcies are the second highest in the country. And the governor doesn't acknowledge there's a problem.

"We can create 30,000 new jobs by getting into green-collar jobs. Our plan calls for a $500 tax credit for each new green-collar job created in the state, whether in solar, wind or other green business opportunities. Indiana has the fifth or sixth worse carbon footprint in the country," he said.

"There is one wind farm in northern Indiana. In the northern part of the state, there's a lot of wind that can be used to produce energy. In the southern part of the state, solar will work well. Any excess energy produced can be sold back to the grid. Indiana is behind in that area. Our plan also calls for a 3-percent tax credit for businesses to upgrade environmentally. And the public needs to be educated about green technology. We need to offer homeowner incentives, which will help not just the environment, but also the economy."

On taxes, Oxley stuck with the plan he and Long Thompson put forward months ago, citing the need to revisit all state taxes.

"We really need to do a comprehensive review of the tax codes," Oxley added. "That includes sales, income and property taxes in Indiana. We are going to work hard to get this straightened out. A lot of blame for the tax problems in Indiana has been passed down to local officials. We need to put blame where it belongs — on the present administration."

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