By Andi TenBarge
INDIANAPOLIS – Controversial state Treasurer Richard Murdock stepped down from his post in August leaving the office up for grabs in November when voters will decide between candidates who have experience inside and outside the treasure’s doors.
Kelly Mitchell, who worked in the treasurer’s office previously, is now running to hold the office. She’s shown here giving a speech at the Republican State Convention. Photo by Alec Gray, TheStatehouseFile.com
Republican Kelly Mitchell is a former county commissioner who worked in the state treasurer’s office as director of TrustINdiana, a position that called for her to manage more than $500 million in public funds and train local elected officials about money management.
And before coming to Indiana, Democrat Mike Boland served 16 years in the Illinois General Assembly, serving as chairman of the elections, higher education, and financial institutions committees.
While working with the latter, Boland says he learned how the banking system worked and became more knowledgeable about credit and payday loans in Illinois.
After moving to Indiana, Boland said he started reading about Murdock and his fight to stop the Obama administration from bailing out Chrysler, a move he said cheated the state, which had invested in the company.
“One of the things I see is that Indiana has tremendous potential,” Boland explains. But he said Mourdock used the office in a negative away, using millions of dollars that were wasted in an attempt to kill the Chrysler rescue.
Democrat Mike Boland served in the Illinois General Assembly before moving to Indiana where he’s running for treasurer. Photo by TheStatehouseFile.com
Boland says that if elected, he wants to focus on the small town and cities in Indiana by giving them ways to replace funds that could be lost under law that allowed local governments to eliminate the business personal property tax, which is levied on business equipment. Some lawmakers are discussing eliminating the tax completely.
Although Boland says that he is okay with the elimination of the business personal property tax, he wants to use the state’s $2 billion surplus to help local governments to provide services such as roads and schools.
“That tax is a key to financing cities and counties and school districts and townships. Before we make cuts like that, let’s make sure we replace it and we have money to replace it,” Boland says. “We have a $2 billion surplus that right now is only being used as a political award for Gov. (Mike) Pence to run over to Iowa or New Hampshire and brag about.”
Mitchell started working in the treasure’s office in 2007 when the Indiana legislature created a program that local governments pool their money for investments.
Mitchell said that if she is elected treasurer, she would want to increase financial literacy among Hoosiers. She plans to start a program called Students, Adults, Veterans and Educators that is meant to educate Hoosiers about the financial resources available to them. She’s focused in particular on veterans.
“They have a whole subset of resources to them that aren’t available to the rest of us,” Mitchell says. “I want to work with the veterans service officers in every county to make sure we are educating their veteran population about what is available to them.”
Mitchell also said that she wants to focus on families using the Indiana College Savings 529 plan. She said the plan isn’t just to pay for a four-university but also for any post-high school education program.
Andi TenBarge is a reporter for TheStatehouseFile.com, a news website powered by Franklin College journalism students.