Subscribe for 33¢ / day

I got a slick brochure from state Rep. Hal Slager the other day talking about the wonderful accomplishments of the Legislature earlier this year.

I felt like I had died and awakened in Utopia.

It’s a well-done publication that was mailed to every corner of Indiana. Just the names and mugshots were changed.

There were some nice photographs — including five of Slager — and two mentions that U.S. News and World Report ranked Indiana as the best run state in the country because ... well, because it doesn’t spend a lot of money.

But, hey, this is one of the perks of being a state representative. The taxpayers pay for the publication of the brochure and the mailing. For Slager, it is one of the pieces he likely will use for his re-election campaign in 2018.

One of the wonderful things the Legislature accomplished, according to Slager, was that it “passed a comprehensive, responsible and sustainable plan to fund our state and local infrastructure for the next 20 years.”

That is the part of the legislative report that caught my eye. I was wondering how Republicans were going to handle a variety of tax increases, which is something the party never likes to do or talk about.

It used to be that legislators would quiver at the thought of voting for a 1-cent per gallon increase on the gas tax.

So, how were they going to explain a 10-cent per gallon increase? They didn’t.

Instead, the brochure said the Legislature “restored the user-pays principle — those who use the roads help pay for them — by updating BMV and fuel tax user fees. The gas tax was last adjusted 15 years ago.”

Subscribe to Breaking News

* I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its user agreement and privacy policy.

And there was no mention that Hoosiers will pay an additional $15 next year and all years thereafter when they renew their license plates.

I’m not knocking Slager for voting for a gas tax and new BMV fee. I would have done the same. A huge infusion of money is needed for Hoosier roads.

I just didn’t think Republicans had it in them to take the big step. They did by voting for the tax increases.

But now, according to what’s omitted from the how-great-are-we brochure, they seemingly are hoping voters will forget when they next go to the polls.

At least they don’t want to put the specifics in writing. That’s kind of like having it both ways.

Rich James has been writing about state and local government and politics for more than 30 years. Email him at The opinions are the writer’s.