FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) — Jason Arp contends most voters don’t know who represents them or how those representatives vote.
A new website, IndianaScorecard.org, to track and rate votes on over 400 bills to score Hoosier state lawmakers on their defense of private property; if a bill raises taxes or grows government, it’s usually bad.
Arp thinks the site will appeal to people with “his leaning” toward fiscal conservatism and small government.
While Arp acknowledges the state’s role in building roads and bridges, he says it goes astray when it begins to fund hotels and private office buildings.
“That’s a very popular sentiment amongst the Chamber of Commerce types,” he says.
Arp remains a critic of popular public/private partnerships such as Parkview Field, that most would cite as a success.
“It’s the ‘seen’ versus the ‘unseen,'” he begins. “Has there been more economic activity from that? Has there been more taxing payments to the city? Has there been more money to the schools from that? And the answer is ‘no.’ It’s hard to believe but if you actually go through the numbers and compare before and after, there’s actually fewer dollars going into the things that you expect from those areas than there were before.”
Arp is in his second term as a member of Fort Wayne City Council, where he usually votes against economic development deals. By day, he runs J. Arp & Company, which performs “Proprietary Research, Trading, and Portfolio Management.”
A Legislature in Lockstep
In the article called “A Legislature in Lockstep,” Arp crunches the numbers and writes the results are “a shock.”
“Many districts voted 65-70 percent Republican but had a representative who voted more like Democrats than conservatives, increasing taxes or eroding private property rights. Indeed, this was the norm,” he writes.
Arp blames the House Republican Campaign Committee and its $10 million dollars per campaign cycle.
“That’s over $140,000 per Republican House member,” he writes.
Arp contends the HRCC arranges fundraisers for candidates and invites lobbyists from a variety of interests. If the HRCC loses confidence in a lawmaker, a portion of the war chest may go to a primary opponent or the lawmaker might lose access to the entire system.
Arp pauses for only a moment when asked why lawmakers would put up with it.
“For a lot of people it’s the most important thing they’ve ever done. They like being a State Rep. I think a lot of times they run on good intentions and then they get there and they’re told this is what you got to do. But they like being there. They like being important. They want to stay there.”
Arp knows he has a way to go to change minds, even among the four other Republicans on City Council.
“It’s all futile but you have to do it anyway,” he laughs.