Brandon Smith

Brandon Smith is excited to be working for public radio in Indiana. He has previously worked in public radio as a reporter and anchor in mid-Missouri for KBIA Radio out of Columbia. Prior to that, he worked for WSPY Radio in Plano, Illinois as a show host, reporter, producer and anchor. His first job in radio was in another state capitol, in Jefferson City, Missouri, as a reporter for three radio stations around Missouri. Brandon graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a Bachelor of Journalism in 2010, with minors in political science and history. He was born and raised in Chicago.

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Politics & Government
4:32 pm
Wed July 23, 2014

State, Local Governments at Odds Over Tax

The State Capitol in Indianapolis.
Credit Courtesy / Wikimedia Commons

The next showdown between the state and local governments over the business personal property tax will be at a blue ribbon commission studying the issue this summer. 

The tax on is a levy on business equipment that generates a billion dollars a year for local governments.

Legislation passed this year allows local governments to either exempt new equipment from the business personal property tax, eliminate it on small businesses or abate the tax on specific projects for up to 20 years. 

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News
6:14 pm
Mon July 21, 2014

Indiana Government Aims to Improve Transparency

The governor’s office has unveiled a new website aiming to improve transparency and accountability in state government. The site was built to be a  one-stop shop for Hoosiers keeping tabs on state agencies’ performance.

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News
3:35 pm
Fri July 18, 2014

Indiana's Unemployment Rate on the Rise

Indiana’s private sector sent a June record for job creation. Yet the state’s unemployment rate rose for the first time in a year.  

The Hoosier private sector added 10,000 jobs last month, including growth in every major employment sector. The surge was led by the leisure and hospitality and construction sectors, each contributing at least 2,700 new jobs. But the state’s unemployment rate rose two-tenths of  a percent to 5.9 percent. 

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News
4:44 pm
Wed July 16, 2014

Prescription Drug Disposal Program Coming to Indiana

Credit Great Lakes Clean Water

The Yellow Jug Old Drugs program creates opportunities for people to dispose of unused prescription drugs year-round at participating pharmacies. The program is coming to Indiana.

For many Hoosiers, the only opportunities to get rid of prescriptions is to throw them away – which  risks environmental damage – or take advantage of limited drug take back events.

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Politics & Government
5:57 pm
Tue July 15, 2014

Convenience Stores Redouble Efforts to Sell Cold Beer

Indiana convenience stores won’t stop their push to make the sale of cold beer in their shops legal. Instead, they’re filing a new lawsuit and appealing their existing case.

Under Indiana law, only liquor stores are allowed to sell cold beer.  The Indiana Petroleum Marketers and Convenience Store Association filed a lawsuit against the state last year in federal court, seeking to strike down the law. 

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Politics & Government
5:10 pm
Mon July 14, 2014

Bayh Not Ruling Out a 2016 Gubernatorial Run

Former Indiana Gov. Evan Bayh said Monday he's not ruling out another run for the office.
Credit Brandon Smith / Indiana Public Broadcasting

Evan Bayh isn’t ruling out a run for governor in 2016.

The son of legendary Senator Birch Bayh, Evan Bayh was elected Secretary of State before serving two terms as governor, followed by 12 years in the U.S. Senate.  He abruptly opted not to seek a third Senate term in 2010.  Since then, he’s worked as a policy analyst and political commentator for Fox News.

He’s also donated some of his remaining campaign funds -- which total nearly $10 million -- to various Hoosier Democrats. 

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Politics & Government
1:56 pm
Mon July 14, 2014

Indiana Lands Big Budget Surplus, But Democrats Cry Foul

Indiana State Auditor Suzanne Crouch announced the state closed out the 2014 fiscal year with a more than $100 million surplus.
Credit Brandon Smith / Indiana Public Broadcasting

Despite tax revenues that struggled for much of the fiscal year, Indiana closes its book with a surplus of more than $100 million and reserves topping $2 billion.  But Democrats say the state is hoarding money to make its bottom line look good.

Going into the final month of the fiscal year, Indiana was about $50 million short of expectations.  But a strong June helped the state end the year about $13 million above projected levels.  Still, Indiana brought in nearly $60 million less this year than last year. 

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Politics & Government
3:24 pm
Fri July 11, 2014

State Faces Funding Challenges for New Roads

A blue ribbon panel studying Indiana’s future transportation needs laid out this week the state’s top road project priorities.  The task now is to figure out how to pay for them.

The panel recommended four priorities for road construction projects – widening I-65 and I-70, building an I-69 Ohio River bridge and creating a commerce connector around Indianapolis.  The panel did not include specific funding recommendations, though co-chair Cathy Langham says it does suggest developing some sort of user fee system.

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Politics & Government
3:44 pm
Thu July 10, 2014

Ethics Commission Concerned About INDOT Official's Departure to Private Company

INDOT Chief of Staff Troy Woodruff.
Credit Courtesy / INDOT

Members of the Indiana Ethics Commission say they have serious concerns about a senior INDOT official leaving his position to work for a company he’s helped steer state contracts toward.

INDOT Chief of Staff Troy Woodruff is in negotiations to work for RQAW, an engineering firm that does business with INDOT.  While he’s working out an employment deal, Woodruff has put in place a screening procedure that ensures he isn’t involved with any state business that deals with RQAW. 

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News
4:57 pm
Wed July 9, 2014

Pence: No Recognition for Gay Marriages Performed After Ban Was Struck Down

Credit Courtesy / Wikimedia Commons

Indiana will not recognize same sex marriages legally performed before a federal appeals court halted a ruling striking down the state’s gay marriage ban, as Governor Mike Pence says the state must follow the rule of law.

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