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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News
6:08 pm
Mon July 28, 2014

State Wants More College Students Graduating On Time

Sarah Correll, Purdue junior and member of the Commission for Higher Education.
Credit Brandon Smith

The Indiana Commission for Higher Education wants to help college students finish their degrees on  time, unveiling Monday its ’15 to Finish’ campaign. The initiative is a coordinated, statewide effort to inform students, parents, and advisors about  the importance of taking 15 credit hours per semester.

Only 30 percent of Hoosiers complete a bachelor’s degree on time. And an extra year of college costs an average of $50,000.

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Politics & Government
2:26 pm
Fri July 25, 2014

Pence Says Recent ACA Rulings Point to Repeal

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence.
Credit Courtesy / State of Indiana

Governor Mike Pence says recent court rulings on the Affordable Care Act should send a message to Congress to repeal the controversial healthcare law.

Two federal appeals courts this week issued conflicting rulings on subsidies offered to consumers who purchase health insurance through federally-run exchanges – one court invalidated them, the other upheld them. 

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Politics & Government
4:53 pm
Thu July 24, 2014

Healthy Indiana Plan Enrollment Ends for 2014

Indiana is cutting off enrollment in the Healthy Indiana Plan because the program has reached this year’s funding limit.

When the federal government reauthorized HIP, the health insurance program for low-income Hoosiers, last year, it required Indiana to lower the income eligibility ceiling from 200 percent of the poverty level – about $47,000  a year for a family of four – to 100 percent – roughly $23,000  a year. 

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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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