DOUG ROSS: Money talks, same-sex marriage talks, GOP balks

2014-01-17T00:00:00Z DOUG ROSS: Money talks, same-sex marriage talks, GOP balksBy Doug Ross doug.ross@nwi.com, (219) 548-4360 or (219) 933-3357 nwitimes.com

A potpourri can be either a medley of miscellaneous items or a mixture of flower petals and so forth used to make things smell better. Considering the topics for this column, maybe it's both.

Tax attacks

What do former Gary City Councilwoman Marilyn Krusas and Beanie Babies king Ty Warner have in common?

Tax evasion.

Krusas failed to file income tax returns for two decades and cheated the federal government out of an estimated $80,000 to $200,000. Her sentence: one year and one day in prison.

Warner, who squirreled away at least $25 million in an offshore bank account, agreed to pay $27 million in back taxes and interest and a $53 million civil fine. His sentence: two years of probation.

If you saw "The Wolf of Wall Street," which got five Oscar nominations Thursday, this might sound familiar. 

In that movie, Jordan Belfort (Leonardo DiCaprio) faces federal charges — but remember, the wealthy aren't treated the same as others.

Marry, marry, quite contrary

The battle over same-sex marriage and civil unions continues in the Statehouse in the Hoosier Holy Land. It looks like GOP infighting is heating up.

House Speaker Brian Bosma, who has said the referendum on the constitutional amendment isn't a priority, appears ready to replace members of the House committee hearing that legislation so it can move to the House floor.

That comes on the heels of a Chesapeake Beach Consulting poll for the Republican legislators that said Republican opposition to the amendment increases to 54 percent when they learn civil unions would be banned as well.

Same-sex marriages and civil unions already are illegal in Indiana.

So here's another issue where Republican candidates will have to be extremists to win in the primary but could lose to moderate candidates in the fall, when independents weigh in.

Common corpse

A Republican initiative from a few years back, the Common Core Standards for education, was approved by the Indiana State Board of Education and endorsed by then-Gov. Mitch Daniels but is now under attack.

The business community likes the Common Core Standards because they put all students on an even footing for comparison.

As much as he likes to compare Indiana's business climate to other states when it comes to taxes, Gov. Mike Pence is following the Tea Party line in opposing Common Core.

"Hoosiers have high expectations when it comes to Indiana schools. That's why Indiana decided to take a time-out on national education standards," Pence said in his State of the State address Tuesday.

"When it comes to setting standards for schools, I can assure you, Indiana's standards will be uncommonly high, and they will be written by Hoosiers, for Hoosiers, and will be among the best in the nation."

So much for Common Core as a way to make sure Hoosier students stack up well against their peers nationally.

Editorial Page Editor Doug Ross can be reached at (219) 548-4360 or (219) 933-3357 or Doug.Ross@nwi.com. Follow him at www.facebook.com/doug.ross1 and on Twitter @nwi_DougRoss. The opinions are the writer's.

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