Brandon Smith

IPBS Statehouse Reporter

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.

Ways to Connect

Roughly 90% of state employees will be getting a pay increase in 2012.  Pay increases will range from 2-6% based on performance evaluations.

In 2009 and 2010, state employees didn’t receive a raise due to economic belt-tightening in state government.  At the beginning of 2011, they received an average increase of a little more than one percent.

Governor Mitch Daniels says the legislature budgeted for this year’s raises and they had nothing to do with recent revenue forecasts that showed an improving economy.

With the Super Bowl less than two months away, a bill to close gaps in Indiana’s human trafficking statute is on a fast track.

Attorneys general across the country have focused their attention on human trafficking in the last several months.  And Governor Mitch Daniels says the presence of the Super Bowl shines a spotlight on Indiana.

“The single worst location and occurrence for this exploitation is the Super Bowl.”

State revenues are expected to grow, though at a slow rate the next two years, according to forecasts unveiled Wednesday.  And with the addition of recently discovered tax revenue that had been misplaced, the state budget surplus could reach more than $1.7 billion next year. 

 

Indiana Supreme Court

Indiana's judicial branch released its 2010 Judicial Service Report and revealed the state needs about 597 judges, but only has 441.  This forces judges to work at 135%.

Chief Justice Randall Shepard says the issue of whether Indiana has enough judges for its caseload matters most to people who need to get into court in a more immediate timeframe.

“People who have a divorce or a child custody matter or some need to get injunctive relief.”

Indiana Congressman and Senate candidate Joe Donnelly is calling on Congress to pass the payroll tax cut before the end-of-year deadline.

Speaking at a diner in Indianapolis Monday, Donnelly said Congress should stay through the holidays if a deal is not reached soon.  He says the payroll tax cut is critical for families as the economy tries to improve.

“What a payroll tax cut can do is it puts us in a position where it can put almost over a thousand dollars in every family’s pocket.”

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